By Rich Winter
Thrilled when Allan Bertram asked me to be part of the team that is heading up SACRED HOOPS…THRILLED. Wanted to take a minute to introduce myself and to tell folks exactly what I’m going to be doing and ultimately, why I do what I do.
My name is Richard K. Winter and I grew up about 15-miles west of Martin…(Between Swett and Batesland). Went to high school at Bennett County, graduating in 1985. Graduated from Brigham young University in 1991 with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism. Spent about five years as a TV weatherman in Salt Lake City
In 2005, I moved home and soon after took a job at the Todd County Tribune in Mission…I’m still there (Although remotely as I live in Salt Lake City) and that move was one of the best decisions of my life.
All these years on the Rosebud, writing thousands and thousands of stories and blogs, and listening and really hearing comments, complaints and OTHER, I’ve learned a lot of things.
I’ve been doing this blogging thing for just over five years now (most of the time for little or no money). Some of you might remember me as the Panic Button. Over the past four months I’ve been working on a Facebook page called Instigator Nation…
Let me tell you something interesting about Instigator Nation. When I first moved to Mission, very early on, an elderly lady told me that my Indian name should be ‘Crooked Ears’.
I understood immediately!
Over the years I’ve been kind of an instigator, I guess it’s my calling! I’ve listened to a lot of folks about me stepping over boundaries, paid heed, and despite going over the cliff once in a while I’d like to think more of my instigating as getting the conversation going. (I tried to change my Instigator Nation page to something else, but Facebook said it would be misleading to my audience and they wouldn’t let me change the name.)
Why do I do what I do?
In the fall of 1984, having opened my senior football season against Gregory, a man by the name of Kenny Soderlin, a member of the only teams in the history of Bennett County that made the state basketball tournament (mid-70’s) came up shook my hand and patted me on the back and told me what a great game I’d played.
That stuck with me….As a 17-year old I marveled that someone of Kenny Soderlin’s stature would even notice that I was alive.
I’ve kind of kept that mantra in my life and try to implement that into my writings with the idea of, “Everyone deserves a little pat on the back.”
So excited to be part of Sacred Hoops and I think the organization’s Mission Statement goes a long way to explaining what this organization is about.
Sacred Hoops Mission Statement: To teach the game of basketball, the game of life, and provide multiple opportunities for the youth and those who work with the youth in South Dakota and surrounding states.
Basketball is such a special part of South Dakota and with the lineup of coaches and high-level training enthusiasts you can imagine one of the goals is to improve the basketball training across the entire state, not just metro Sioux Falls. Hopefully someday we will see a kid from a small town in South Dakota go to the NBA, but ultimately there are a lot of working parts to what Sacred Hoops is trying to help with.
TEACHING THE GAME OF LIFE: A lot of towns in South Dakota have heard Mr. Bertram speak and most come away feeling better about themselves and the communities they live in. Love the mantra, “Everything we need is already in each of our communities.” From my perspective, I like to remind people around this time of year to talk to their kids about the dangers of drinking and driving around proms and graduations and encourage parents to sit down and talk with their kids about making a plan, how to handle certain scenarios with the ultimate message being let’s NEVER again lose one of our kids to a drunk driving accident.
PROVIDE MULTIPLE OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE YOUTH AND THOSE WHO WORK WITH THE YOUTH IN SOUTH DAKOTA AND SURROUNDING STATES – I like this one maybe most of all, although at this point not ALL of what Sacred Hoops is going to help with is ready and set to go.
One thing I’d like people to think about changing their mind-set about is the goal should not necessarily be to go to college and play basketball. The goal is to get to college AND be able to play basketball. Mr. Bertram and his staff are pretty well connected across the country and if a kid has the grades and is good enough to play at whatever level they can play, this organization is going to help get them pointed in the right direction. Playing ball in college must be a great thing but getting a degree like former Red Cloud prep and Dakota State senior, Falcon Albers is getting from Dakota State – That’s AWESOME!
Thank you for SHARING your stories South Dakota:
One of the things I really love about covering South Dakota sports and communities is I’m always reminded of just how many great people and communities there are in South Dakota.
Brady Sprik of Platte – Was really excited to see Brady attending a prom the other day. Last year Mr. Sprik was hurt BADLY in I believe, a car accident. I think a lot of us watched the after photos and ole Brady was pretty tore up for awhile. We’ve seen a lot of the REHAB photos…Not long ago I saw the Sprik’s intimating they had a lot of thank you letters for their friends and neighbors in Platte. You see, while the Sprik’s were running back and forth to Denver the town of Platte built an add-on to the home and built a ramp for Brady to use when he got home, which he is now. (Some of that may not be completely accurate, but I tell ya, I’m damn proud to be from a state where when someone goes through something like this, people line up to help because it is the right thing to do.
Hunter Peterson – Philip – Injured in a farming accident right before football season started…Injured BADLY…almost instantaneously Philip folks were asking how they could help and immediately started raising money for the Peterson’s for travel and other expenses just because it was the right thing to do.
Orie Brown – Crow/Creek and Pine Ridge
In February, South Dakota lost an awesome young man by the name of Orie Brown. Orie was a great basketball player in Pine Ridge, played ball in college and after getting his degree he started working and coaching on the Crow Creek reservation. When he was lost you could just feel the anguish it caused so many in Indian country. All through my Facebook feed I could see young men and women from a ton of different schools sharing their emotions on the loss of someone that was deeply loved and highly thought of. In the month that followed I saw so many kids with Orie Brown’s picture as their profile pic and I saw kids from across the state wishing Orie’s younger brother Corey Brown well. Believe it was Feb. 7, in Pine Ridge with the Chieftains in Ridge to play the Thorpes, the Crow Creek guys brought a star-quilt and presented it to Corey Brown. And then while a Lakota song was being played, the Chieftains and Thopes, locked arms and shared the moment together – I was blown away.
Winner football team makes National News - Remember when the Winner football team went to the Old-Folks home and pushed the elderly folks in wheel chairs down to the parade…and then that went viral and made it all the way to ABC News?
Crazy Horse’s Ben Chipps goes over 1000 points – One of my all-time favorite things is to get a little note or message from someone that gives me little tidbits. Somewhere in February I got a note from someone in Crazy Horse alerting me to the fact that Crazy Horse senior Ben Chipps was going over 1000 points for his career.
So, I printed a little something…
One of my greatest sources of pride is seeing a little blog like that spread like wildfire in the small area of Wanblee. In a lot of towns in South Dakota there aren’t great things happening, so, I’d like to think a blog about a high-school kid in Wanblee makes a place feel good about one of their own.
Simon Milton – Have really enjoyed getting to know Simon Milton this year. We sorta started chatting a bit, and he shared quite a few pictures and dunk videos and news about the boys and girls’ teams up in Lower Brule. Saw a great picture of him on the internet the other day…I made fun of the ugly-as-heck Cleveland Cavs hat he had on.
Ultimately I’ve been following the exploits of Milton’s son, Jayshawn who took up the high jump a year ago.
Jayshawn ended up being the Class B state high-jump champ. The thing I found interesting was that I ultimately found that Milton had a pretty solid ACT score (25 I think). Enjoyed seeing Simon Milton’s video posts recently of Jayshawn’s recruiting trip to South Dakota State University. Young Milton has two more trips, USD and Minnesota…Grades are important and a student from Lower Brule, with some big-time hops is about to embark on a journey that I personally am going to enjoy following.
Mason Grimshaw – Alright, so I was in Mission a couple weeks ago and stopped in NAPA for a moment and listened as a proud Grandpa told me his grandson Mason, (Son of Nick Grimshaw and Buffy (Whipple) was getting ready to graduate from the Massachusets Institute of Technology (MIT) with a 4.0 GPA and, that he had just been accepted to the MIT Graduate Program…How about that? A kid that grew up in Mission, graduated from St. Thomas More got a 4.0 at MIT…DANG!!!
Tee Allen – Martin: Pondering how to write this one…Allen, a junior at Martin got 8th in the high jump at state a year ago, went to the High-School National Finals in rodeo as a bull-rider, is a terrific running-back for Bennett County and placed at the state wrestling meet this year. (How many kids do that)…Was looking at his Facebook pictures yesterday and it seems he also plays baseball…WOW!
More stories on the way…
· Pine Ridge’s Corey Brown is headed to INMED in North Dakota this summer
· Miller’s Darin Hunter was recently named Region 4A Athletic Director of the year. Son, Karst is a big-time Division 1 QB prospect and it has been fun following some of the posts about different schools the Hunter’s visit.
· Bison’s Daniel Burkhalter, one of the all-time great distance runners in the Class B ranks will be looking to put up some MONSTER times this season.
· The St. Francis Indian School, student council recently won an award as having the best Student Council in South Dakota.
· How fast will Winner’s Ellie Brozik be this year.
· Can Sioux Falls Christian sprinter, Justus Adams win the 100 Meter dash and the 110 meter hurdles.
· Will Chamberlain’s Nash Hutmacher win a Folkstyle wrestling national championship this week.
· What kind of rodeo stars will emerge this summer?
· Will former White River standout Rachel Astleford bread the SDSU Javelin school record this year.
· There is a 7th grader at White River, Sayler, that looks SPECIAL.
I hope that people will continue to share their stories. There are so many great students and artists and artistic performers that deserve recognition. There are so many students that really work on their grades and embody the STUDENT/ATHLETE Mantra.
Ultimately my personal feeling is that every kid, every coach and every community has a story.
Last season at a track meet in Winner, then Todd County freshman Haesel Brill lowered her 200-meter time from 33 to 30. Now, I’m not a big believer in participation awards (Life is tough), BUT, while the 30-second 200 meters that Brill ran isn’t going to take her to the state meet, YET, that is a dramatic improvement that obviously came through a lot of work.
I find merit in hard work paying dividends, and like to acknowledge it as often as I can. I hope folks will continue to reach out and share some of the great things going on in communities all across South Dakota.
Alright, so here are a couple of things to know as we go forward.
Sacred Hoops Website - https://sacredhoopsbasketball.com/home/
On that website you will find tabs:
Black Hills Basketball Academy
Coaches (Urge folks to click on this link there are some super-HWT South Dakota coaches on this list)
Dakota Sports Blast: https://sacredhoopsbasketball.com/dakotasportsblast/ (That is my new blog)
There are a lot of great things coming that haven’t all been worked out..
· All-Star Games
· Fund-raising for AAU team travel to help offset costs
Ultimately I’d like to get a little more involved in the schools, perhaps even teaching some journalism classes and getting kids more involved in writing, broadcasting and just overall communication.
Have a great day and if you have an athlete or someone in your community that is doing great things….Let me know….firstname.lastname@example.org