Herald Journal Columns
April 3, 2006, Herald Journal

Bring on April; I’m sick of March

By Aaron Schultz

I have never been as happy as I am this year for March to be finally over, and for April to arrive.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t like March was a complete disaster or anything, it’s just that I am really ready for spring.

Starting with the good part of March, I think the first two weeks of baseball practice went pretty well – no one quit and no major injuries.

With that said, we were only able to get down to the baseball field in Lester Prairie for practice once.

That is not very good, especially since we are scheduled to open the season today against McLeod West.

Now, as I am writing this column Thursday morning, the forecast is for rain Monday, which would surely wipe out any game, but one never knows.

I really hope the sun comes out Saturday, and shines for about a week so that we can stay outside for good.

That leads me to some of the bad moments in March – specifically March Madness.

Starting with the NCAA basketball tournament, and the bracket I filled out.

Well, after the first round, I was in first place and was feeling pretty good about my chances.

Then, the second round came and went, and I found myself back toward the bottom.

Yep, from penthouse to outhouse in one round.

Things just kept getting worse after round one, and by the time the final four was announced, I had no teams left in the bracket.

Next up, and probably the most disappointing moment for me in March, was the effort of the Golden Gopher hockey team – my team.

The Gophers headed into the WCHA Final Five on a roll, then lost a heartbreaker to St. Cloud State in overtime in the semifinals on St. Patrick’s Day.

If that wasn’t enough, they then were beaten down by Wisconsin in the third-place game.

No matter, I thought incorrectly, those two games didn’t mean much, and they would be ready when the NCAA tournament games start.

Boy was I wrong, as they laid one big egg against Holy Cross in the opening round, getting eliminated.

I watched the game in stunned silence for much of it.

However, when the Gophers finally took the lead, I really figured it was all over.

But Holy Cross kept battling and my team continued to play like the Timberwolves – crappy.

Then, in the end, Holy Cross scored in overtime to knock my Gophers out.

Over the next few days, I pondered what happened to the Gophers, and really couldn’t come up with an explanation for why they played sooooo poorly.

No matter, I thought, next year is going to be the year, as head coach Don Lucia would be bringing back pretty much everybody, along with an outstanding recruiting class.

Yep, the 2006-07 season is the year where Minnesota would reclaim what is rightfully ours – the national hockey championship.

Then, the hits started happening, specifically, Ryan Potulny left and signed an NHL contract.

And there are rumors that line mate, and one of the other top players in college hockey, forward Danny Irmen is also going to leave early.

No! This cannot be happening to my favorite team, it just can’t.

Still, despite these players leaving, I still believe the Gophers will be in the hunt next year.

One last comment on Gopher hockey. How in the world did Potulny not win the Hobey Baker Award, which goes to the top player in college hockey?

Okay, I might have bought that he was not the best player in college hockey, but not even making the final three was a complete joke.

Alright, moving on to another Gopher program that had me on a roller coaster in March.

That program would be the men’s basketball program.

Unless this is the first time you are reading my column, you already know that I have been calling for head coach Dan Monson’s head for several years now.

Well, this past year, I have really gotten to the breaking point, and want him to be gone, for good.

Then it happened, at least for one night, and I was ecstatic.

Monson fired, or resigning, it wasn’t clear which one, only that he was leaving the program – or so the StarTribune reported.

I was one happy camper, and I spent a night thinking to myself who they might go out and hire as his replacement.

I just kept thinking how great it would be if the Gophers went out and hired Rick Majerus, the former Utah head coach.

Then reality set in, and it was reported that Monson wasn’t going anywhere, and the higher-ups at the ‘U’ stated that a big reason for keeping him was his academic record with the players.

Excuse me! You can’t be serious! He is making over a quarter of a million dollars a year, and they say it is because of the academic record of the players that he gets to keep his job?

If that was all that was required, just hire me.

I may not know a lot about basketball, but I will come much cheaper (say around $50,000 a year), and will make sure all the kids get to class.

What really bewilders me is that the Gopher men’s basketball team is ranked near the bottom of all Minnesota athletic teams in overall grade point average.

And that low rating is with a transfer from Harvard (Zach Puctel) on the roster.

In fact, if my information is correct, the only team with a lower GPA is the wrestling team, and that wrestling team finished second at nationals.

Would Joel Maturi and the big-wigs at the ‘U’ please get your act together and get rid of Monson?

Enough with all this negativity, let’s end on a positive note about March.

Baseball has started, and despite everything else, that does make March a pretty good month.