The Free Press, Mankato, MN

May 24, 2013

50 years and not too old to remember

— Today marks 50 years on the planet, and it’s been a good run. Many of the memories are a bit fuzzy, some have been drowned, but there’s been pretty good times doing this job.

There was the 2009 national championship game in which the Minnesota State women’s basketball team defeated Franklin Pierce 103-94 in a record-setting performance at San Antonio. It was easily the most exciting, back-and-forth game of this career, made all the more special because it was played for a championship.

There was the 2011 national semifinal game for the Minnesota State men’s basketball team, played at Springfield, Mass. Though the Mavericks lost that night to Bellarmine 84-77. It was a game that the Mavericks could have won, but Bellarmine, which ended up winning the championship game two nights later, was really good. However, the result was tangible proof that this program is capable of winning a national title; that’s not just coaches blowing smoke to the fan base.

There was that run through the national tournament for the Mavericks’ football team last season that ended in the semifinals. Valdosta State was the better team that day, but it was still a lot of fun watching Minnesota State win those first 13 games. Perhaps that experience will allow the Mavericks to move forward into the championship game some day.

The rivalry between Mankato East and Mankato West has had its spectacular moments, especially in boys basketball, when many college-level athletes competed before.

Gustavus Adolphus had some special men’s basketball teams and athletes who always seemed to achieve above others’ expectations.

There have been so many memorable athletes, some of whom go back to high school and many, many more since this job started. Who can forget the first time you saw Jermaine Brown jump? Or Gary Mielke pitch?

A lot has changed in this industry, some good and some not so much. Certainly, the news can be distributed faster, but haste can sometimes lead to mistakes. People seem more concerned with acquiring “knowledge” than knowing if it’s fact.

There’s still a place for the newspaper, a trusty friend that can join you in the recliner or a more private setting to inform and entertain. Sometimes, it’s just more fun to read 15 inches on a subject than 140 characters.

Maybe, it’s just that this milestone has created time for reflection. The job isn’t the same as it was 25 years ago, nor is the writer.

Better or worse? Hard to remember.

Chad Courrier is a Free Press staff writer. To contact him, call 507-344-6353, e-mail at, check out his local sports blog at or follow his Twitter feed @ChadCourrier.