North Dakota Nice: The Liam G. Medd Memorial Baseball Tournament

The third Annual Liam G. Medd Memorial Baseball Tournament kicks off June 9th, 2023 in Fargo, North Dakota.  Liam Medd was the funny, sweet, smart, thoughtful, beloved son of our friends, Todd and Elizabeth Medd – and his death by suicide at age 15 came completely out of left field.  Since that horrible, horrible day, Todd and Elizabeth have worked tirelessly to reach out to area children, teenagers, and their families to encourage conversations around mental health and suicide prevention (for example, here’s a fact Elizabeth told me not too long ago: 25% of people who attempted suicide spend less than five minutes between the decision and the actual attempt; and for 75% of the rest, the thought and decision are less than an hour apart).

While the topic of suicide is typically heavy and difficult, the Liam G. Medd Memorial Baseball Tournament is the total opposite – fun, happy, and a way for kids to celebrate the sport and good sportsmanship, while also learning a little bit about positive mental health along the way.  Elizabeth kindly answered a few questions about the tournament and the 4 6 3 Foundation (their family foundation) – check it out:

Why did you choose to host a baseball tournament?

Liam loved baseball.  After he died, we were presented with the opportunity to host a tournament, in partnership with Fargo Youth Baseball, in his honor.  We knew it wasn’t enough to just name the tournament after him; it was important to us and to those involved that this tournament make a difference and bring conversations about mental health and suicide prevention to youth and their parents in a setting that was comfortable and neutral. The 4 6 3 Foundation works to meet youth in the places that mean the most to them: in this case, on their playing field.  These conversations can be difficult and scary, but when we can bring the conversations to where they are we can break down some of that stigma and reduce some of the fear that comes with these topics.

What are you most excited about regarding the tournament?

I always love the opening ceremonies.  It’s really cool to see all the players in their positions standing with each other, coming together, emphasizing that you are never alone.

I am also partial to the Sportsmanship Awards.  After each game, a player from each team is selected by the opposing team for exhibiting good sportsmanship.  I love giving those young men their awards and being able to thank them for playing the game of baseball with integrity; it’s incredibly moving. Some of the best moments from the tournament have come from the exchange at home plate with those awards.  Liam played the game with hustle, grit, attitude – but, most importantly, he played with integrity.  Liam cherished not only the sport itself, but the camaraderie of the dugout.

Is the tournament open to the public?  If so, what can a first-time attendee expect?

The tournament is open to the public and is $10 for the entire weekend.  Games will be played all day Friday at Tharaldson Baseball Complex and Anderson Complex, and all day Saturday at those same fields, as well as at Bucky Burgau Baseball Field at Concordia.  Games will conclude Sunday at Tharaldson and Anderson.

We also are having 4 6 3 Foundation Suicide Prevention Night with the FM RedHawks on Saturday, June 10th. Fans can pre-purchase tickets, and if they enter promo code “463” at checkout, $2 out of every ticket purchased will be donated back to the 4 6 3 Foundation (plus, the first 500 kids 12 and under get a free Hawkeye pillowcase!).  You can click here to purchase tickets.

Additionally, if families, individuals, or organizations would like to become a sponsor for the tournament in 2024, they can email me here for more information.

What do you hope the players and teams take away from the tournament?

Aside from having a great baseball experience, we hope players, teams, and families come away with a better understanding of mental health and suicide and that they start having regular conversations about some difficult topics.  We will have resources available all weekend for players and families to take with them and use.  Suicide is an epidemic, not just in our community, but across the country.  The goal of this tournament is to normalize conversations around mental health and suicide.  We want to connect with youth where they are, doing the things they love, with those tools and resources to reduce stigma, build hope, and end suicide.

What’s next for the 4 6 3 Foundation?

After the tournament ends, we will take a couple weeks off and then the committee gets back to planning for the next year.  We just wrapped up filming with Sanford for an event they are hosting at the end of June, the Sanford Blueway Gala.  We are also working on the next PSA in our series in partnership with Fargo Police Department and Fargo Cass Public Health.  We have created two PSAs so far – both can be found on our website – and we have several more in the works.  If there is an opportunity for us to speak with youth – through youth groups, sports teams, any kind of group – I am always excited for those events.

(A quick note from Amanda: If you want to learn more about the 4 6 3 Foundation, click here. For more on the tournament, click here.)

Old Mill State Park | May 31, 2023

I had 150 million housekeeping items to do over the long weekend so, naturally, Kyle and I threw them all aside and took the boys to Old Mill State Park in Minnesota.  We had actually planned (by “planned,” I mean that Kyle said, “Should we go to Icelandic?” and I said, “Sure,” and then we tossed some sunscreen and water bottles in a backpack and put the kids in the car) to go to Icelandic State Park, which is in North Dakota and not really close to Old Mill State Park.  However, midway through the one-hour drive to Icelandic, Kyle said “Hey, what about Old Mill Park instead?” and when I Googled Old Mill the DNR web page stated that a mama bear and her three cubs had been spotted near the campgrounds.  Kyle’s random thoughts coupled with possible bear attacks were the winning combination for us to throw our unmade plans aside once again and set a new course for Old Mill State Park.

Kyle and I were willing to put the safety of our beloved children on the line because Old Mill State Park was advertised as being the home of…wait for it…an old mill (Sometimes Bears State Park was already taken; ba-dum-ching).  Our oldest son loves touring historic buildings; since that same kid was NOT HAPPY about being on what I had advertised as a “Fun Family Hike!,” we figured he would be mildly placated if said Fun Family Hike! included a mill.

“Let’s go fishing first, then hike,” Eight, who was promised a Family Fun Hike! And Fishing, announced as we pulled into the park.

“NO,” Eleven said.

“We’re going to hike first,” I said.  “It’s too hot for fishing right now.”

“NO,” both boys said.

“Here’s what we’re going to do,” Kyle said.  “We’re going to park the car, walk to the mill, take a little hike around, and then go fishing.”

“FINE,” we all said.

Unsurprisingly, we made it as far as Step One before our plans went asunder – because just down the hill from the parking lot was the sweetest, sparklingest swimming pond you’ve ever seen.  We strolled to a picnic table under a giant shade tree; nearby, a woman lounged half on the beach, half on the grass, reading a book.  Eleven walked out onto the sand and dropped to his bug-sprayed, suntan-lotioned, hiking-socked knees.

“Can I go fishing?”  Eight asked.

“This is for swimming, not fishing,” I said.

“Can I go swimming?”  He asked.

“Well, we’re not wearing swimming suits,” I said.  “You can take your shoes off –”

Eight was in the water before I could finish my sentence.

It was deep enough in the middle that a group of girls was able to float on a bunch of blow-up unicorns, but the edges were shallow.  While Kyle and Eleven messed around on the beach, I followed Eight as he walked around the pond.  Directly across from the beach was a grouping of rocks and a teeny-tiny waterfall of sorts, and when we climbed up over the rocks, we found it emptied into a red silty-sand stream tucked into the trees.  Eight, who was somehow now soaking wet from knees to noodle despite never actually immersing himself in water, reached down and grabbed a handful of the powdery sand.

“Mom!”  He exclaimed.  “Look, wild Kinetic Sand!”

While I contemplated all of the money we were going to save not having to buy manufactured Kinetic Sand, Eight turned his attention to a 14-ish-year-old girl in a hot pink bathing suit sitting in the middle of the stream, her legs straight out in front of her.  Around her were several smaller children peering down into the water.

“Look at that one; that’s a big one,” the girl said, pointing a few feet in front of them.  The children squealed, and Eight immediately launched himself into the group, because all around them were dozens upon dozens of FISH.

“Can I catch it?”  Eight asked, reaching down towards the largest one.

“You don’t need to catch it,” she told him, gently.  “If you stand real still, they will nibble your toes.”

All of the children, except for Eight, froze.  Eight stomped around the water, trying to grab one of the fish with his bare hands.  His splashing caught the attention of Kyle and Eleven, who came up behind us.  Eleven, who did not want to catch fish with his bare hands and was fine standing in one place so as to take in the “soundscapes” (his words), was quickly surrounded, and then nibbled on, by fish.

“I guess in this place, the fish catch you,” he stated matter-of-factly.

Eight was still tireless in his hand-fishing attempts after an hour, and so Kyle got everyone out of the stream and back into shoes for our Fun Family Hike! And Mill.  Next to the stream was a rock bridge leading into a veritable Fairy Land of oak trees and wildflowers.

“This is so pretty that I don’t be-LEAF it,” Kyle said.

“I bet the bears are in here,” Eleven said, remembering that he didn’t want to go on a hike, “and they are going to EAT EIGHT.”


“Don’t worry, they BEAR-LY like eating kids,” Kyle said.

We Fun Family Hiked! for thirty magical minutes.  The boys fought the entire time, which kept away the bears.  We stopped at the mill and homestead so they could fight at another location, and then we turned onto a different hiking trail leading into the campgrounds.  At the edge of the camping area, a three-year-old boy in one of those electric toy Jeeps came rolling up to us.  He put out his hand, and Eight reached up into a tree, grabbed a leaf, and handed it to him. 

“Take it or leaf it,” Kyle said under his breath.

The boy took it, and rode away without a word.

We stopped at the stream one more time on the way out, this time further down at a spot with a bit more water.  The boys forgot they were fighting with each other and poked at the rocks with sticks until we told them it was time to go.

On the way home, we stopped in Euclid for dinner and pull-tabs (we won, then lost, $2) and to alleviate ourselves of a few ticks.

“Did everyone have fun?”  Kyle asked as the kids downed their on-tap root beer.

“Yes,” Eleven said, begrudgingly.

“Yes, but we didn’t go fishing,” Eight said.

“You kind of went fishing,” I said.  “You just didn’t catch anything.”

“Did you have fun?”  Kyle asked me.

“Yes,” I said, as the sun set on newly-planted fields covered in the green peach fuzz of spring.

You know it’s springtime because Kyle wore his official warm weather hat at Old Mill State Park. To his right, off frame, is a rescue boat for water that you can stand in. I put a few more pictures (of Old Mill, not Kyle’s hat) up on my Instagram and Facebook pages if you want to see some average photos of a beautiful spot.

Also, in case you missed it: I’ll be appearing on North Dakota Today every Monday to talk about good stuff. To do so, I need your assistance, please. Tell me what that make you think, “Oh, for nice.” It could be something big like neighbors helping neighbors, or something small like a really great flowering tree.

I can share your stories anonymously or with credit, and I’m obviously going to make them about me so there’s that to look forward to, too. Regardless, I’d greatly appreciate you spreading some good news and start the week off right.

Grand Forks’ Quinn Roehl shaved his head prior to state track and field in support of his brother, who is being treated for testicular cancer – and then Quinn broke a record held since 1980. (Grand Forks Herald)

Students at Central Cass Elementary School raised over $20,000 for the American Heart Association so they could pour icy water on their teachers. (Grand Forks Herald)

There were so many thoughtful Memorial Day ceremonies around North Dakota this past weekend, including this one in Minot. (Minot Daily News)

Live in Grand Forks?  The Senior Center is looking for a Bingo Coordinator.  (Not to brag, but I was a bingo caller at the Senior Center back in the mid-90s and I was AWESOME at it.) (Facebook)

Fargo’s Amy Olson and her up-and-coming baby will soon be playing in the U.S. Open. (Fargo Forum)

Speaking of Fargo, I didn’t think there could be anyone more excited than Kyle that Shania Twain was coming to Fargo, but it turns out Bismarck’s Jessie Wald is that person. (KFYR TV)

Hettinger’s Andy Roehl is digitizing home movies to keep a record of the community’s past. (KFYR TV)

Fargo’s Madison Elementary School recently installed a series of art posters celebrating the cultural diversity of the community. (Facebook)

After fifty-seven years driving a school bus, Portland’s Allan Kville has decided to hang up his seat belt and his career has been lovingly – and, according to him, embarrassingly recorded here. (Grand Forks Herald) (KFYR TV)

Mayville’s Maureen Brunsdale has written a book about circus trapeze artists. (Grand Forks Herald)

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Send me your stories!

I’ll be appearing on North Dakota Today every Monday to talk about good stuff.  To do so, I need your assistance, please.  Tell me what that make you think, “Oh, for nice.”  It could be something big like neighbors helping neighbors, or something small like a really great flowering tree.

I can share your stories anonymously or with credit, and I’m obviously going to make them about me so there’s that to look forward to, too. 😊  Regardless, I’d greatly appreciate you spreading some good news and start the week off right.

Click here to submit a story.

Thank you in advance!