Like most of my team mates and fellow Minnesota Track and Field supports, I was, and still am, shocked to hear that our program could be a thing of the past so easily. Also like most of my teammates, I ran for the U of M on a minimal scholarship, paying the majority of tuition out of pocket but elated at the chance to compete for a short time and be on a team with some extraordinary individuals.

Others were more talented , faster, and honestly others might have worked harder too. But being a part of this team I felt like I was pulled me up to their level. I had the honor of being on four Big Ten Championship teams and share in the joy of the team performances. My teammates showed me what positives can come from hard work, dedication, grit, and stick-to-itiveness. As a team, we learned to overcome the adversity of less than ideal practice or meet conditions. We worked through the transition of a coach, whom to many of us was like a father, just to name a few. We learned all of this together.

Two days before moving to Minneapolis from Fargo, North Dakota I had a bike accident. I took a turn too fast, lost control and broke my jaw. The day before I was to move in I had surgery putting in wires to reset my jaw properly. The day I moved into the dorms, mouth wired shut, my parents knew I would be ok, because through every step they were taking with our team coaches and admin who constantly assured my parents that I’d be looked after and I’d have plenty of help from my teammates. And I did. All I could eat for 6 weeks was ice cream, tough to train, go to class, socialize, and only get by on ice cream. One day the ice cream machine was broken in the dining hall, I tried to explain this was all I could eat, no help came, that day I didn’t eat dinner, and ended up waking to Dairy Queen at 8:00pm to find ice cream for some calories. I told my coach. The next day you at dinner you would have thought I was the King of England. The dining hall manager had three cups of ice cream waiting specifically for me so I could eat. Like I said I was taken care of, a part of my new family.

I have countless stories, countless life lessons, countless memories from my time at the U of M. We didn’t even have a usable outdoor track when I was competing but we made the best of it. All of these memories came rushing back as I toured the new outdoor facility and the vastly improved indoor facility with my young family. The excitement of being able to share those times with them, teach my son and daughter those lessons as we sat in the bleachers, watching the next contingency of Gopher greats compete.

All that came crashing down as I hear the news that the program is cut. I chose the picture below because it’s the only one I have of me with my son at a men’s track meet at the U. Candid, we are bundled up on an unseasonably cold, May Day, 2019. I’m lucky to have this one picture with my family at the track because I know a lot of my teammates didn’t get this opportunity and will not get it again. If I would have known, just like my teammates, that this could be all ripped away so easily, I would have fought, fund raised, chipped in.

This is a community, a brotherhood. We have a wide net to cast. Give us a chance to do it, to find a way, to overcome this obstacle just like we learned to overcome every one before it. If it can’t be done it can’t be done, but at least give us the opportunity to try and find a solution.