Waseca County Pioneer 111 W. Elm Ave.

Waseca, MN (507) 837-6767


I really had nothing to worry about

I’m sitting here working late at night on the paper, Monday evening. As I’m writing headlines, I pause at Al Batt’s. Choosing headlines, especially for opinion pieces like columns, is a balancing act. In a few words I have to attract attention to the piece while also reflecting the writer’s intent. There is no “right way” to do it–only the “way” that suits the moment. Perhaps it is the character of Al Batt’s writing, perhaps it is the lateness of the hour or the length of the day, but I find myself thinking back to a time when I was new to the task and when it cost me much more effort. 
Those first days, now more than seven years in the past, I spent oh so much time, struggle and concentration on each of those headlines. I look back fondly on those times. It's pleasant to recognize how much I’ve learned, and to sympathize with that beginner who worked so hard at something which–from my present perspective–was not as earth-shattering as he believed. The day-to-day concerns which seem like mountains are often only really molehills; the worries of any given time period meld together into a much larger picture, and so, individually, have very little impact on our future. 
This week I spent time covering a myriad of exciting stories.
Saturday night I was in Blooming Prairie for a conference title showdown between the Bulldogs and the Awesome Blossoms. 
Many other activities were happening that same day, so I count myself lucky for being able to attend.
I had photographers lined up for the State Gymnastics meet and both section wrestling meets. 
At gymnastics, my photographer fell through because, it turned out, the other gymnasts he had to take photos of were competing at the same time. 
Zero for one.
The same photographer, however, managed to get me some photos of the Bluejays wrestling in Rochester. 
My dad was assigned to the New Richland wrestlers in Blue Earth. He didn’t go.
That was disappointing. 
As a favor I also took photos from the Blooming Prairie perspective Saturday night: The Steele County Times and I have a very good working relationship under which we help each other out  by taking photos we know each other's newspapers may want.
The Bulldogs/Blossoms game was exciting.
JWP led by as many as 16 points in the second half, but failed to score more than one basket over the final nine minutes of the game. They lost on a last-second shot. 
So, I got to take many great photos of Blossoms celebrating. The atmosphere was loud, chaotic, and exuberant. A good warm up for me, since I will be covering the state wrestling tournament this weekend. 
Monday I interviewed my aunt, Julie Arnold, who recently became the owner of the Willows restaurant in New Richland after being one of its employees for most of two decades. 
Despite patronizing the Willows nearly all my life, I didn’t know she was my aunt. But, to give me credit, she didn’t start dating my uncle John Arnold until 2014 and didn’t marry him until years later. 
Julie was nervous during the interview. She felt, as she puts it, “out of her element.” 
I thought it went great. We spent almost two hours together talking about her life, the Willows, and plans for the present and future. 
Monday night I spent quite a bit of time working on a story for the Star Eagle. Adam Finseth, nephew of my life-long neighbor Barb Finseth, was killed last week in a shooting in Burnsville while providing medical aid to wounded officers. The family released a letter, as did Adam’s wife, Tara. Between that, and reading the stories, I was emotionally spent. 
Many folks continue to share kind comments with my staff and myself. I like the direction the Pioneer is heading and will work hard to keep it growing. Reader feedback is helpful. 
I don’t write as many stories as I used to, partly due to all of the managing and time spent laying out the newspaper pages electronically. That, and tendonitis in my hands still plagues me. It is much better than last year at this time, but that's really only due to my reduction in writing. 
Thankfully, Deb is an incredible writer and editor. Tristan is growing in her writing of features. Rachael is picking up many stories and learning quickly. And Dave–God bless Dave Zika. We all love him. 
Congratulations to the many distinguished athletes still competing or, who have completed their winter sports seasons. May those memories stay with you for a lifetime. 
“The secret to winning is constant, consistent management,” - unknown. 
“Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.”
“Baseball is the national pastime.”


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