Cossacks of the Court

Posted: Friday, March 14, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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(Sung to the tune of "On Wisconsin")
Onward Volga, onward Volga, you’re the school for me.
When we battle (fill in name of opposing town here) high school, happy we will be.
Onward Volga, onward Volga, fight them for your fame.
So fight, fellas fight, fight, fight to win this game.
I’ve had our old high school fight song running through my head quite a bit over the past two weeks as BOTH the boys AND the girls basketball teams from Sioux Valley High School in my hometown of Volga advanced to the state tournament.
They both lost, of course, but, what an achievement!.
 Val Klienjan of the Cossacks shoots and scores Photo by Lara Neel Argus LeaderI don’t know any of the kids that play on either team. I recognize a few last names like Klienjan and Knutson. (they’re probably the grandkids of my classmates.)
My little town has grown a lot since I left.  Back then, there was no girl’s basketball program at all and for the boys team, coaches had to pick players from a pool that consisted primarily of Dutch or Norwegian kids.
Now there is even an African-American, Brooks Knolley, who’s a starter and a star player for the mighty Cossacks.
                                       Photo by Lara Neel Argus Leader
When I was a senior in 1964, the Cossacks did very well in both football and basketball…no thanks to me.
My cousin, Grouse and I were too busy growing our hair long and playing rock and roll music trying to impress the girls.
Our football team went undefeated that season and the basketball team certainly looked as if it was going to be good enough to do the same.
For once, our arch nemesis, Arlington Cardinals, had nothing for us.
The Howard Tigers, though, that was another story. They beat us by 14 points in the very first game of the season. Well, that shocking defeat seemed to light a fire under our guys and, except for an unexplained loss to Lake Nordon, the Cossacks completed the regular season without another loss and had three games in which they scored a whopping 100 or more points.The Volga Cossacks 1964..the next year with consolidation the name was changed to Sioux Valley With Arlington out of the way, the Cossacks breezed through the district tournament and then made it to the championship game of the regionals. Only one thing stood in the way of a trip to the state “B’”… Howard.
Here was our chance to get revenge for that earlier humiliation.
Oh, what a game!  The lead changed back and forth for the entire contest. Fans on both sides were screaming so loud you could hardly hear the buzzer.
But then, in the final seconds, Roger Truman (I’ll never forget that name) of the Tigers, ended the tie, dropped in the winning basket and broke our hearts.
Congratulations to the wonderful 2008 Sioux Valley Cossacks girls and boys teams for making it to the big show.
I’d like to say that the agony of defeat eventually goes away but as you can tell, for some of us, it still kinda stings even after 44 years.

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