This letter is in response to Ms. Karen Kimbrough's letter on April 14. Her assertion is that this newspaper and the community of Bemidji has made an inappropriate "fuss" over the Beavers' first appearance in the NCAA Division I Frozen Four.
I admit I have some bias in writing this letter, being from the Iron Range in Minnesota (home of the Hockey Hall of Fame) and a BSU graduate. However, I feel it is important to consider Ms. Kimbrough's opinions thoughtfully. She does point out some important facts for us to take note; we do live in a region in which great economic challenges, health and cultural disparities are the reality. She is also correct in that often these important issues do not receive the media attention they deserve.
But, like it or not, let's not forget that sport, not unlike music ensembles or theater groups, are also a part of our community's cultural and economic fabric. Win or lose, sport, like other cultural endeavors, often teach life lessons (self -- discipline, team-work, etc. -- that are between the lines of a textbook.
In times of stress and uncertainty, Americans have frequently looked to sports, music and the arts, and other cultural "soul" foods for comfort. During the Depression, a blue-collar boxer boosted the spirits of millions of down-and-out citizens looking for inspiration. During the Cold War era of the 1980s a young and overmatched Olympic hockey team performed "a miracle," and many remember an injured gymnast who limped down the runway to vault to gold, and again lifted the American spirit and gave many inspiration and hope.
Lastly, I would agree with you, Ms. Kimbrough, the Beavers' success on the ice this season is not the only important thing the community needs to know about. However, in my opinion the unpredicted success of hard-working student-athletes, with the most All-Academic Team members in their conference is newsworthy. Americans are sentimental; cheering for the underdog is a part of our nation's history and cultural identity. We love to see the little horse, the long-shot, out run the big "favored" thoroughbred. More specifically, many in the Bemidji community, as well as others, enjoyed the opportunity to support and hope for a team of student-athletes from a small Midwestern university compete, and this year upset some of the biggest and best college hockey teams in the nation.