Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Closing out old year, opening new one

Wick's World


When you sit down and think about it, millions of people around America probably closed out 2016 in a high state of inebriation, bumbling and stumbling around acting like authentic fools. Some acted out of extreme elation, others from intense depression. The following morning, a hollow “Happy New Year” echoed down the hallway from the bathroom, accompanied by last night’s excesses of prime rib and champagne. Heck, I used to pretty much say goodbye and hello to every year in that manner.

I am afraid 2016 has left a long hangover on our nation. I conquered my personal demons decades ago, although by age 70, it didn’t stop me from wanting to waste away the memory of the historically weird election of 2016. OK, because of the election, many of us thought it was a lousy year to say the least. I heard it from relatives, friends and followers of social media.

Facebook will no longer be our most popular social media as it is doomed to be swept aside like a super-bugged gossiping Democrat. Facebook, email and most certainly public discourse (I mean people actually speaking to each other in a civil manner) will have no place in 2017. Tweeting on Twitter is the new fad, brought to you by our President-elect Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The incoming administration reminds me of a quote in an old “The Three Stooges” episode when the character Shemp blurts out, “Dr. Jekyll, we must hide.”

To be fair, about half of the people were happy with the outcome of the election; obviously, I am not one of them. I gave my spot to a Russian leader. Virtually every American voter was happy the presidential political season had finally come to a halt, albeit unimaginable.

Not all of 2016 was bad. The Minnesota Gophers football team was a microcosm of last year. They had a good year on the field and a horrific year off the field. Their coach felt it was more important to stand by his players through thick or thin, and there was plenty of thin to go around, than do the right thing and stand up for the prey who tried to stop a hallway full of predators. As far as I am concerned, the coach’s firing by the university was justified.

There is some good news from 2016. It has to do with a football team from Moose Lake/Willow River; a football team that was so good it often went undefeated every year. The team's greatness wasn’t because the coach taught them football is God or that football reigns as king above all else, including the dignity of the girl who had a line waiting for her. This coach not only taught his players the importance of being a team, but also taught them right and wrong. He also taught the value of mentoring. The year 2016 wasn’t their best year on the field. They even lost a few games for a change, but in one way it was the greatest season any high school team has ever had.

This coach instilled a sense of fairness in his players. He not only had his players mentor younger players, he made sure everyone who showed they really wanted to play for the team, got to play for the team. One young man wanted nothing more than to be able to do the things his brother did. One of those things was playing football. He showed up for practice every day and was as enthusiastic as any player on the field. One night, for the first time, his coach put him in the game. He was only the holder for kicking the extra point — not exactly the most celebrated role on a football team. But he was playing football just like the other kids. The coach played him in more games. It was only because he had a coach like this he played at all. The kid even made the national news. Oh, did I mention the place kick holder spent his days in a wheelchair ... and played football?

2016 was a good year, too.


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