Saturday, April 4, 2020

A "Crumbs of Comfort" anniversary

This month we will share our 2,000th crumb of comfort. If your crumbs ever fail to arrive, it's because my computer has crashed and cannot be repaired at this time. Otherwise, crumbs should continue, and today's is an encore which does not mention the words virus or pandemic. Enjoy!  In Minnesota, the town of Climax is even smaller than Garrison Keillor's imaginary hometown of Lake Wobegon. But Climax has two things in common with Lake Wobegon. All the men are strong, and all the women are good looking. And the children? Well, you decide.

Greater downtown Climax, MN.

From 2011 to 2015, the Lady Knights basketball team of Climax-Fisher High School strung together 84 straight losses. That was four years of ridicule. But coach Jonathan Vonesh never lost faith in the girls. A few quit, but most remained determined to turn the team around. It finally happened, and you won't believe how.

In 2015, the Knights were one point ahead of Bagley High at halftime, and "the crowd was getting into it," remembers player Grace Bowling. Then the Knights got in major foul trouble. First, all the seniors fouled out. Then all the juniors fouled out! There were only three Knights left, two sophomores and a freshman -- the least experienced players on the losingest team in the state. Coach didn't tell them to win. He just told them to keep working 'til the end. You can't win with three against five.

The three girls didn't score once from the field, but they played stellar defense. When they got the ball, they drew fouls and made free throws, one after another. When the buzzer sounded, the Lady Knights won! What happened next? "We were all hugging and crying and screaming our heads off," said Heather Grove. "It was probably the best moment of my life," added Adrianna Vasek. "You kind of learn that no matter what people say about you, if you keep putting in the time and effort, it will pay off," said Michaela Burstad. That's a lesson the team can never forget.

When Coach Vonesh was contacted by ABC News affiliate WDAZ, he credited the victory to "survival, and a lot of prayers," adding "it was like they won a championship." Thanks to the Lady Knights, Climax now has one more thing in common with Lake Wobegon. All the children are above average.

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