By Ed Hruska
|Upcoming events |
Oct. 13-14: MYSA fall state soccer tournament
Nov. 15-17: NJCAA Division II national volleyball tournament
Dec. 14-15: Minnesota Christmas wrestling tournament
The first weekend of August we were the host of the ASA Northern National Softball Championships, bringing 78 teams to Rochester from around the Midwest. This number was approximately double the number of teams we had projected based on past numbers.
These top teams have several options on where they will attend national tournaments. So why did so many teams come to Rochester?
There are probably several reasons — we hope one of which is that teams hear good things about events held in Rochester so they feel confident they'll have a positive experience. However, during the event I had some time to visit with teams, coaches and families, and what I heard was directed at another reason: "Minnesota Green."
What I mean when I say "Minnesota Green" is Rochester's landscape; they were impressed by the green grass, green foliage and softball fields that were inviting to play on.
It was shared that many of the teams have experienced a long, hot and very dry summer. Parents told me they loved the cool weather, plush grass and rain – yep, rain! They said they had not had rain for two months and they were living with water bans, creating brown ballfields with dead or dormant grass, as well as plenty of dust.
They hoped that heading north to Rochester would be a welcome break from a summer of these unbearable conditions – and our Minnesota weather did not disappoint them. We received rain before the first games and again Friday night – with cool temperatures falling into the 60s. While it was not ideal at times for those running the tournament, it did bring a welcome relief to our out-of-town guests.
When we host national tournaments of this type, it draws people to our area who may never have been here before. One player's dad from a Missouri team told me they wanted to come here because they had never been to Minnesota. He said their whole group was excited to come here to not only hopefully get away from the heat but to see Minnesota. Between games they were going to do some touring of the area and visit the Mall of America.
Minnesota is rarely recognized as having desirable weather by most. However, after a long, hot and dry summer of softball for these top national teams, a weekend in Rochester, Minnesota provided a welcome break for our tournament guests.
A little "Minnesota Green" was just what they were looking for!Amateur Update is a weekly column on amateur sports activities in southeastern Minnesota, provided by the Rochester Amateur Sports Commission.