'Proud of you' doesn't cover it
We would have understood if the 2010 Wadena-Deer Creek volleyball team had suffered a few lapses of concentration during the season. We would have understood if they didn't match their fabulous 2009 showing in the state tournament. We would have understood if the girls had simply been human and fell a bit short of their goals.
But if you expected that, you didn't understand the AA state champions at all.
They're winners, plain and simple, and they just completed a season Wadenans and Deer Creekers will be talking about in assisted living facilities until 2060, at least.
These girls have been playing together and shooting for the stars for many years, putting in the practice time and exercising the sort of teamwork that has always made our towns proud. From JO volleyball to the final point on Nov. 13, these girls did the work to win the championship.
Then June 17 came. We don't need to revisit that day, other than to say the coach and some of the girls endured a horror. The team lost its home. As the girls took on opponents at Xcel Energy Center, crews were preparing to demolish their old gym, and their old school.
A few letdowns on the 2010 season were certainly possible. Surely an off night would come and the Wolverines would lose on their home court, or some lonely away game, right? Nope, never happened. But when the perfect record was completed, a mental lapse in the playoffs was coming, right? Maybe Perham or DGF or Fergus Falls would catch the Woverines on a bad night, right? Nope, never happened. The Wolverines were bound for St. Paul, back for another run at a state title.
But WDC had to face down Delano and Sauk Centre and get their A game. Surely all the tragedy and adversity would catch up with them then, right? Or Hutchinson, the no. 1-seeded powerhouse, would stop the Wolverines Cinderella season, right?
And it wasn't exactly close. The Wolverines never dropped a set in the state tournament, a perfect 9-0. They didn't play a set that had a closer score than 25-20 until the very last game. Leading 2-0 against Hutchinson, the Wolverines faced several set points, but refused to die. The Wolverines had every reason to just let up and take a 2-1 set lead into game four of the match, but that's not the Wolverines. They battled back, over and over, and eventually prevailed 29-27 in set three to sweep the team seeded higher than them.
About the greatest football players in history, people say, "Only the end zone stopped him from running."
About the great -- no, legendary -- WDC Wolverine volleyball team of 2010, they'll say, "Only handing them the state tournament championship trophy stopped their winning streak."
We'd say we're proud of you, but that doesn't come close to covering it. Wolverines, you are what the word "champion" was invented to describe.