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home : columns : columns June 25, 2016

8/21/2013 8:33:00 AM
My fair days never included battle scars

Joel Alvstad
Sports Editor

With the start of school Monday in Windom, it means that summer is officially over for me and my family.
Of course, that summer wouldn't be complete without a trip to the Cottonwood County Fair.
Fair time is always one of the more interesting times of year for us here at the paper, and for me in particular. Having been in 4-H growing up, I always enjoy going through the exhibit buildings to see the various projects the kids bring. Each year, I leave extremely impressed.
I always reflect on my own time showing at the Grant County Fair, whether it was our sheep or whatever project I decided to try.
Part of my job at the paper involves covering some of the livestock shows. Due to my trying to get ready for my Fall Sports Preview (just two weeks away, for those of you keeping track at home), I was left with Friday as my day to cover events at the fair.
As always, that meant a bright and early start at the 4-H swine show at 7:30 a.m.
From a photo standpoint, my job is to primarily take pictures of the grand champions and a few "candid" shots. So, from a photo standpoint, there's usually quite a bit of downtime at the swine show as they go through a number of classes of barrows and gilts.
So I figured I'd take advantage of that downtime by getting some work done. I brought my laptop computer and, from previous experience, knew I'd need an extension cord to run from the sole outlet of the Oleson Pavilion to my computer.
And that's when "Thinking Ahead Joel" met "You Idiot Joel."
Rather than ask someone tall to plug my extension cord into the outlet located atop the electrical box, I tried to stand on a block to do it myself. I'm sure Keith Engen, who was standing a few yards away, would have gladly done it for me.
But I didn't ask, having done it myself for the past few years. Except this time, the block wobbled, I lost my balance, and I gashed my leg on a collection of steel fence posts.
So now, instead of covering the swine show, I got to start my morning at the fair with a lovely trip to the emergency room to get stitched up and receive the tetanus booster I'm sure I needed.
Back when I was in 4-H, the worst injury I ever suffered at the fair was the injury to my pride when I was usually on the losing end of the annual end-of-the-fair water fight. One of the usual instigators of the annual water fight when I was in high school just happens to now live in Mt. Lake. You know who you are, and believe me, I'm still plotting my revenge.
In the meantime, I'm trying to get all healed up in time for the fall sports season, which begins in earnest in the coming week. I should be back to 100% as soon as the stitches come out.
Glutton for punishment
File this one under how big a glutton for punishment I am.
A year ago at this time, my son, Parker, was practically begging me to set up a fantasy football league for him and some of his friends. He had seen me do a couple of drafts and thought it would be cool to do (he's right, of course).
I told him that maybe his friends weren't as excited about it as he was, but I set up an "in-house" league with all three kids, my wife and our niece. I told Parker that if he made it through the year still interested and didn't drive me crazy in the process, that we'd do a league next year for his friends.
Next year is here, and Parker's first fantasy football draft is coming up with nine of his buddies - a league of 10 fifth- and fourth-graders.
Judging from the reactions from the other kids' parents, most of Parker's friends are really excited about having a league of their own, after watching their parents play fantasy football for years.
Meanwhile, my job will be to oversee the league and make sure everyone is getting their lineups in and having fun.
It could be interesting, but should be fun for the kids.
Thought for the day
"Fantasy football is Dungeons and Dragons for people who used to make fun of people who played Dungeons and Dragons."
I don't know which comedian that line comes from, but as someone who has played both fantasy football and Dungeons and Dragons, I couldn't agree more!

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