Hall of Famers ‘A family affair’
The old song, “We are family,” could have been the theme for Minneota’s second Hall of Fame induction.
“When the committee was discussing my daughter Jami’s induction, they asked me to leave the room. When I tried to go back in, they told me I couldn’t. I didn’t know they were considering me, too,” said new Hall of Famer Jim Rolbiecki.
Saturday night Jim sat next to daughter Jami (Rolbiecki) Bossuyt, as both were inducted. “It meant a lot to be inducted with my daughter,” Rolbiecki said.
More “family” emerged when former all-state quarterback Chris Meidt took his place in the Hall of Fame along side his dad, Coach Gerhard Meidt, who was inducted last year.
Beyond the physical “family” connections, one inductee after another struck a tune of devotion to Minneota, while they all claimed Minneota was, “One Big Family.”
“Dad always loved being from the small town of Minneota, Minnesota,” said Greg Anderson, son of inductee Joe Anderson, who passed away nearly a year ago.
Anderson was a Minnesota three-sport star who went on to become captain and MVP of the University of North Dakota football team.
“Our family is honored to be part of this tradition and to have dad in the Hall of Fame,” Anderson added.
Chris Meidt referred to the greatness he found in Minneota when he said, “I wasn’t very fast, I couldn’t throw it very far, and being an average guy, you need above average teammates and mentors.”
Jami Bossuyt, who married a Cottonwood boy, Bruce Bossuyt said, “Minneota has always been my home. Thank you Bruce for making it our home.”
One Hall of Famer, Kris Fier, the first Viking state wrestling champ said, “The legacy of Minneota wrestling is something special.”
Fier never left and has helped as an assistant coach for over 16 years. “Coaching kids and helping my kids as they grow up,” is something he enjoys.
His goal: “Teach kids to never give up. Give your best effort.”
“This is a special day in my life ... Minneota is special,” said inductee Dick Culshaw.
He not only was a three-sport athlete who played on Minneota’s only state tournament baseball team in 1958, but was also inducted into the Minnesota State Golf Coach’s Hall of Fame.
A reoccurring theme amongst the inductees was the close-knit atmosphere created by playing for Minneota teams.
Alyssa (Buysse) Anderson, speaking for the 2006 girls volleyball team, talked about how they became “one unit” as they propelled themselves toward a perfect 30-0 season and won Minneota’s only volleyball state championship.
“There is no ‘I’ in team,” she said.
Crushed by the loss of their coach from the previous year, they rebounded and Anderson said, “Little did we know we’d be a Hall of Fame team.”
Also a “team player,” with a different job, was Principal Gerald Olson. His daughter Hope Vasholz called him, a teacher, athletic director, coach, mentor and fan.
And she reiterated as to what Minneota meant to her. “It was a wonderful place to grow up,” Vasholz said.
Being back home brought a special feeling for the inductee who once, “Knocked it out of the park,” for a two-run home run in the 10th inning to defeat Milroy in 1958.
Giving the introductory speech to Ron Davidson was last year’s inductee Steve Kjorness, who said, “There were 1,000 people at that game, which was called the greatest game in 30 years.”
Two games later, Minneota was in the state tournament. “Last night, when I walked off the field (at Minneota’s win over Yellow Medicine East,” Davidson said, “I had a lot of emotion.”
Perhaps Darin Yost best described the feeling that prevailed over the induction ceremonies when he talked about his father, Coach Dale Yost.
“He always tried to get the best out of his players. He enjoyed coaching — no matter the score or who the players were. They were the reasons he coached and taught.”