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Montevideo: Where Homecoming Is King
Posted by John Millea(jmillea@mshsl.org)- Updated 9/26/2016 9:21:53 AM

MONTEVIDEO – Let’s start this essay with the final act of wonderfulness I witnessed during Homecoming Day in Montevideo, home of the Thunder Hawks and some of the nicest people you will ever come across. Friday was big, filled with special events. However, the final moment for me was not a big thing but a little thing, a little thing that exemplifies what makes high school activities so special.

The Thunder Hawks football team had just lost the Homecoming game to Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City. The visiting Falcons led 3-0 at halftime in a game dominated by defense, ACGC’s Jeremy Nelson ran for two short touchdowns in the second half and the Falcons won 24-0.

As the boys of Montevideo left the field to exit the stadium and make the short hike across 17th Street to their school, they walked through a tunnel of humanity. Parents, grandparents, family, friends, little kids and old timers, their fans slapped them on their big shoulder pads, patted the top of their helmets, said “Good game” and “Good job” and wished them luck next week.

I was standing with Montevideo activities director Bob Grey, watching this all take place. I said to Bob what came to mind after spending the day in town: “Bob, these kids are so lucky to grow up here.”

Montevideo is the county seat of Chippewa County, pretty much equidistant between the Twin Cities and Sioux Falls, S.D.; two and a half hours due west of the Twin Cities and two and a half hours northeast of Sioux Falls. It is home to 5,300-some proud souls and has a sister city in Montevideo, Uruguay; a statue of José Artigas, the father of Uruguayan independence, stands proudly in downtown Montevideo, Minnesota.

I see a lot of great things everywhere I go in Minnesota. This trip to Montevideo was a day-long affair, though, making it a very enjoyable deep dive. There was a pep rally featuring a live cow, a wonderful small-town Homecoming parade, free hot dogs before the football game, and a lovely autumn evening to cap it off.

The afternoon pep rally was for everybody, and I mean everybody. Every kid who attends public school in Montevideo crammed into the high school gym, a feat that involved bus rides and other high-wire logistics in herding tiny little tots, classroom by classroom, to their proper seating locations. When all were in place, 1,450 humans – plus teachers and staff – were soon on their feet screaming and clapping for the Thunder Hawk teams.

Football, volleyball, cross-country, girls swimming, girls tennis teams; all were highlighted under the direction of Kyle Goslee, who teaches physical education and coaches softball when he isn’t masterfully ceremony-ing pep rallies with all the screaming gusto of a combination drill sergeant and professional wrestler. (Here’s a brief excerpt from Kyle’s repertoire: “WOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!”)

The cheerleaders scripted many of the activities, including a round-the-gym flurry of cheers from each class, all 13 of ‘em. The kindergarteners kicked it off, following the cheerleaders’ chants and finishing with a very high-pitched “We are the Class of 2029!” And so it went right up to the seniors in the Class of 2017. There were sleeping-bag races, blindfolds and other tomfoolery, and much anticipation for Sammy the cow.

Sammy is not much of a cow, really. She was small enough to be carried into the gym in the arms of a young man and little Sammy stood still while a selectee squatted down and gave her a smooch on the snout. Sammy was returned to her home on the range at that point, and the tarp that had been placed on the gym floor came away unscathed.

The parade. Oh my, the parade. Those little kids sat on the curbs along 17th Street – also known as Thunder Hawk Drive – and waited until it was time to spring into action and scramble for pieces of candy as if they were hundred-dollar bills. The parade was led by the Montevideo Volunteer Fire Department’s largest firetruck, a slow-rolling mastodon of a thing carrying several humans on top … although they were so high in the air it was hard to be specific about details.

There were pickup trucks carrying Homecoming royalty, flatbed trailers carrying teams and clubs, a cute contingent on foot representing Montevideo Elementary School, the great Thunder Hawk marching band, and a float featuring a giant inflatable Minnesota Viking and a large fake can of soup bearing the label “Cream of Falcon Soup” (the ACGC Falcons disrupted that prediction).

As the parade ended, folks lined up for freshly grilled, free hot dogs. Before long the Thunder Hawks and Falcons were on the football field, preparing for the ballgame. Montevideo head coach David Vik took a swig of Diet Squirt, placing the can on the track behind the bench as kickoff came.

For much of the evening, the punters – ACGC’s Adam Johnson and Montevideo’s Reece Kuhlmann – were the busiest guys in town. Another leg specialist, Frederick Hansen, kicked a 24-yard field goal for the Falcons late in the first quarter. The offensive dam didn’t exactly bust after that; the next scoring came midway through the third quarter.

The band members, still in uniform, sat in the stands and entertained everyone in grand style, just as they had done several hours earlier at the pep rally and again during the parade. High school students chatted and cheered, adults handed over cash to little kids bent on attacking the concession stand, the coaches coached and the players played.

The football uniforms displayed some mud by game’s end and the hometown Thunder Hawks came out on the short end of the scoreboard. But as the boys walked off the field, they were met by all those other people who live in their town.

All those lucky people.

--To see a photo gallery from Montevideo, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 64
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2016-17: 2,417





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John Millea
@MSHSLjohn
13h ago
Go debaters. twitter.com/MPRnews/status

John Millea
@MSHSLjohn
14h ago
Final score in boys soccer: South St. Paul 2, St
Croix Lutheran 1. @MSHSLscores

John Millea
@MSHSLjohn
14h ago
Goal by Rigoberto Mendoza gives South St. Paul a 2-1 second-half lead over St. Croix Lutheran in boys soccer. @MSHSLscores

John Millea
@MSHSLjohn
15h ago
Halftime in boys soccer: St. Croix Lutheran 1, South St. Paul 1. Goals by SCL's Micah Schultz and SSP's Sam Lehman. @MSHSLscores

John Millea
@MSHSLjohn
15h ago
South St. Paul free kick blocked by St. Croix Lutheran. @ Ettinger Field instagram.com/p/BK1ge3yBOw1/

John Millea
@MSHSLjohn
15h ago
Can you find the soccer ball? @ South Saint Paul Senior High School instagram.com/p/BK1eeL6hH-g/

John Millea
@MSHSLjohn
15h ago
Agreed. twitter.com/Bauer129/statu

John Millea
@MSHSLjohn
16h ago
It's a great day in South St. Paul! Packers hosting St. Croix Lutheran in boys soccer to kick off Homecoming week.

John Millea
@MSHSLjohn
16h ago
The debate has been settled: I'm heading out to watch St. Croix Lutheran at South St. Paul in boys soccer today.

John Millea
@MSHSLjohn
18h ago
Congratulations to Pipestone football coach Clay Anderson on notching career victory No. 100 on Friday.

John Millea
@MSHSLjohn
23h ago
Ryder Cup this week in Chaska means no school in Eastern Carver County, including Chaska and Chanhassen HS.

district112.org/blog/2016/06/2

John Millea
@MSHSLjohn
23h ago
New Ulm High School will inaugurate its new turf field on Friday. Congrats! twitter.com/NUEaglesAPAD/s

MSHSL 23h ago
Montevideo: Where Homecoming Is King. John's Journal visits the Thunder Hawks.http://www.mshsl.org/mshsl/index.asp

John Millea
@MSHSLjohn
23h ago
Montevideo: Where Homecoming Is King. John's Journal visits the Thunder Hawks.

mshsl.org/mshsl/johnsjou

John Millea
@MSHSLjohn
2d ago
No. 1 in latest volleyball rankings:
1A/ Bethlehem Academy
2A/ Kenyon-Wanamingo
3A/ Eagan

facebook.com/mshsl.org/

MSHSL 2d ago
This week's volleyball rankings, provided by the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association...CLASS 3A
1. Eagan (17) - 255
2. Champlin Park - 227
3. Lakeville South - 215
4. Prior Lake - 203
5. Hopkins - 189
6. Wayzata - 161
7. Shakopee - 128
8. Roseville - 124
9. North St. Paul - 119
10. Lakeville North - 113
Others Receiving Votes: Eden Prairie - 13, Bloomington Jefferson - 13, Blaine - 12, Cretin-Derham Hall - 7, Rochester Mayo - 6CLASS 2A
1. Kenyon-Wanamingo (11) - 193
2. Maple Lake (2) - 183
3. Rocori - 157
4. Belle Plaine - 156
5. Kasson-Mantorville - 129
6. Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta - 127
7. Stewartville - 118
8. Hill-Murray - 78
9. Concordia Academy - 60
10. SW Christian - 58
Others Receiving Votes: Roseau - 53, Jackson County Central - 14, Perham - 13, Sauk Centre - 8, Glencoe-Silver Lake - 6, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton - 6, Holy Angels - 6CLASS 1A
1. Bethlehem Academy (9) - 202
2. Mayer Lutheran (4) - 195
3. Tracy-Milroy-Balaton (1) - 189
4. Heritage Christian - 156
5. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown - 125
6. Minneota - 119
7. Caledonia - 111
8. Kittson County - 96
9. Mabel-Canton - 89
10. Hayfield - 65
Others Receiving Votes: Underwood - 48, Stephen Argyle - 41, Verndale - 21, Wabasso - 13

John Millea
@MSHSLjohn
2d ago
No.1 in girls tennis
1A team/ Blake
1A ind/ Libby Rickeman, Blake
2A team/St. Cloud Tech
2A ind/ Sophie Reddy, Edina
facebook.com/mshsl.org/

MSHSL 2d ago
This week's girls tennis rankings, provided by the Minnesota Tennis Coaches Association...CLASS 1A
TEAMS
1 Blake
2 Breck
3 Rochester Lourdes
4 St. James
5 Foley
6 Holy Family Catholic
7 Minnewaska
8 Pine City
9 Litchfield
tie 10 Eveleth-Gilbert
tie 10 RoseauINDIVIDUALS
1 Libby Rickeman, Blake
2 Izabella Edin, Staples-Motley
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4 Katie Mulvey, Trinity at River Ridge
5 Clare Palen, Rochester Lourdes
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tie 10 Ashley Frederickson, St. James
tie 10 Kayla McIver, FoleyCLASS 2A
TEAMS
1 St. Cloud Tech
2 Edina
3 Eagan
4 Prior Lake
5 Mahtomedi
6 Hopkins
7 Mounds View
8 Eastview
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tie 10 Delano
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3 Meagan Brown, Elk River
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6 Samantha Nichols, Eagan
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8 Karin Young, Eastview
9 Savanna Crowell, Prior Lake
tie 10 Taylor Tarrolly, St. Cloud Tech
tie 10 Zoe Klass Warch , St. Paul Central



 


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