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Les Knutson: Here we are, midway through the winter season

WORTHINGTON — As yesterday’s high winds forced the postponement of most area high school athletic events, it’s time to take a quick stock at how things are shaping up at the midway point of the winter season.

Marshall has been dominant in basketball —- both girls and boys —- in the Southwest Conference, while Mountain Lake Area, Southwest Christian and Ellsworth are the frontrunners in the Red Rock Conference boys’ title chase. Fulda and Southwest Christian are two of the best girls’ teams in the Red Rock, but Murray County Central, Red Rock Central and an improving Southwestern United squad are still in “the hunt.”

Worthington’s gymnastics team has been performing very well and, as usual, Jackson County Central is the area’s wrestling power.

Too bad the classic wrestling dual between Adrian and Worthington was “weathered out” last night. That event has a great tradition and this year’s rescheduled match today appears to have what it takes to be a wrestling fan’s delight.

Luverne has been impressive on the ice, with both Cardinal hockey teams winning more often than not.

So, it has been an interesting winter so far.

It’s hard to believe that in just two weeks, the calendar turns to February and as the days continue to grow longer the end of another upper Midwest winter will be in sight.

A look back 50 years ago to the winter of ‘63-64

While I have written a few columns during the past several months, it’s been awhile since I have done a “Blast From the Past.”

I do have some ideas, including a review of what was going on 50 years ago, during the winter of 1963-64 — between Kennedy’s assassination and the arrival of Beatlemania.

For starters, one of the big events happened in — in the words of Frankie Valli of the Four Seasons — “Late December, 1963.”

In an area high school boys’ basketball game (we were still 10 years away from Title IX’s introduction of girls’ hoops) played on Dec. 30, 1963, the Worthington Trojans — coached for the third season by former Trojan and Bluejay (Worthington Junior College) star Don Basche — defeated the perennial powerhouse Edgerton Flying Dutchmen in a regular season clash at the still new (in its sixth season) WHS gymnasium, where so many great events have been staged.

I plan to do a story on that game, featuring those ’63-64 Trojans, who were the first of many Worthington teams that I followed as a youth.

Then, on the Friday evening before the Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan’s legendary Sunday night show, the jam-packed 28-year old Heron Lake gym (built as a WPA project during the Great Depression in 1936) hosted rival East Chain in a Southern Star Conference contest, which made Daily Globe headlines the next day:

“East Chain, Heron Lake Total 200 Points,” ran the banner headline on Saturday, Feb. 2, 1964,

I was a seventh-grader at HLHS and remember that game, as my older brother Dane — a junior — was a starting guard for the Falcons.

The “story” of that game is a tale to be told, too.

In those days, the Globe covered so many more teams, as every small town still had its own school and there were five conferences — Southwest, Seven Star, Tri-County, Southern Star and Red Rock —- in southwestern Minnesota.

So, that’s a bit of a preview of a couple of things to expect in a couple of upcoming “blasts.”

Enjoy the winter — spring is waiting to come around the bend, and then appear around the corner.