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Column: Memories still vivid as Brown says goodbye

September 1, 2012
By Joe Brown ( , Marshall Independent

In more than two years since I joined the staff of the Independent, so much of that time sticks in my memory like snapshots.

The excited, yet relieved look of Dawson-Boyd football players when the team finally broke through for the Section 5A title, clinching the plaque with white knuckles as the Blackjacks made it to state for the first time.

The tears of excitement flowing outside the locker room at the Xcel Energy Center when the Marshall volleyball team won another state title, further cementing the Tigers' place as one of the state's elite on the volleyball court.

The look of overflowing confidence that came over Southwest Minnesota State's Jordan Miller when he made big shot after big shot on the way to another trip to the national tournament.

And from the pinnacles of jubilation, there were also moments of heartbreak that followed.

The stoic, stunned faces of Southwest Minnesota State football players following the death of Ben Bundy.

The frustrated looks of wrestlers walking off the mat after getting pinned in the state championship match.

The dazed and confused sound of Derek Klinkner's voice on the telephone shortly after his farm accident, proclaiming that he would walk again.

All these moments - from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows - have encapsulated my time in Marshall, and will forever stick in my mind as I finish my time with the Independent.

Coming into town to run the sports section at a daily newspaper in a part of the state I barely knew about was a large undertaking. Especially for a then-recent college grad who had never watched a volleyball match, and on the wrestling mat, barely knew a wristlock from a wristwatch.

But I got to see how talented the athletes were at both the high school and the college level, and I got to bear witness to how much games and teams meant to small towns.

Every Minneota wrestling match had the "howler monkeys" out, hooting and hollering after every pin and win. Seas of black and orange filled the Xcel when the Marshall Tigers made a state tournament. Tracy students cramming the stands in camo and ghillie suits, and Canby fans sporting blue and orange full-body spandex suits in the R/A Facility. The droves of colorful Mustang fans crowding the sidelines during Hawaiian Nights.

Wins and losses ultimately dictate what gets put in the paper, but what you always want to remember about the games are the moments and the memories. And in the two-plus years that I've gotten to bear witness to plenty of moments that I'll always look upon fondly.

Getting the chance to document those moments, whether with words or photos, is something I'm incredibly proud of in my time in Marshall. It truly was an honor to be able to help create some of those snapshots - figuratively and literally - that people in Southwest Minnesota can always remember. And in that time, I got the chance to have those snapshots of time to remember for the rest of my life.

So, thank you Marshall for letting me report on your memories.

And thank you for sharing your memories with me.



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