Soccer | May 13, 2021

My five-year-old (who will be six on Saturday) recently joined a soccer team, called the Spiders.  They are in a league with other little bugs, such as the Butterflies and the Mosquitoes.  Their team names should give you a baseline understanding of the level of cuteness at play here, because the whole thing is Cute With a Capital Caterpillar.

Sometime in the days of the Roman Empire, some mother sat down in the Coliseum as her child prepared to wrestle a lion and said very magnanimously to the crowd, “I just hope everyone has fun.”  This oft-repeated, rarely believed phrase has permeated all levels of sport – except five-year-old soccer, where fun is the only goal.  Playing isn’t even really that important.  When my nine-year-old was in five-year-old soccer, his favorite part was the mid-game snack.

Obviously, there are snacks.  The games are two fourteen-minute halves, and heaven forbid any child go for twenty-eight whole minutes without an orange slice or a pack of Goldfish.  Now that I’m a seasoned five-year-old soccer veteran I also have a strong feeling that the snack is there to stretch the morning out just long enough so that the amount of time packing up and traveling to soccer is not greater than the actual game time of soccer.

The Spiders played the Beetles this past weekend.  Kyle is the coach, so we had to arrive thirty seconds before everyone else so that he could set the bag of soccer balls down on our side of the field.

Five-year-old soccer is a lesson in numbers – specifically, how many children, parents, and grandparents can fit onto a grassy field.  Each team is given a square (Kyle says they are 50 yards by 30 yards each, so we’ll use that as fact) with a center line, two miniature nets, and a flag with a field letter on it.  Last weekend we were on field “F” and a dad came up to us dragging a leg (with a kid attached to it), and asked, “Where is ‘P’?” so there were at least 16 fields in action in Grand Forks five-year-old soccer that day.

Kyle ran a warmup before the game.  For the parents, this warmup meant setting up our lawn chairs and tying soccer cleats.  For the kids, it meant passing (kicking and giggling), shooting (kicking and giggling), and running laps (shrieking like wild animals).  The warmup concluded with retying of the cleats and a chorus of, “I’m hungry.”

Here are some more numbers: the Spiders is made up of seven players.  Four players can be in play at a time.  How many children want to be on the field at any given moment?  The answer is somewhere between zero and seven.  One little girl in sparkly sunglasses would get called in, run up to Kyle and say, “I need a drink of water,” and then attempt to go back to the sideline.  My own five-year-old played until he scored a goal, and then promptly benched himself so that he could ask all of the parents, “Did you see that sick goal?  Was it the best goal you’ve ever seen?”  He actually scored a second goal later in the game but didn’t realize it until Kyle told him later on because he was so focused on getting through his shift and back to his half-eaten mid-game snack (it’s a family trait).

There were a lot of goals scored that day; although not nearly as many as you’d think considering 1) there weren’t any goalies, and 2) if one kid got the ball, everyone else waited patiently until he or she dribbled down and shot.  Half of the job of the coaches was to remind the players that they should be playing.  The other half was picking up fallen/sitting players, examining boo-boos, and asking children to stop picking at the grass.

They don’t keep official score in five-year-old soccer, but my son told me that they won “sixty-five million to eight.”  I heard a similar comment from one of the Beetles to his own parents, so I guess it was a contested win.  The players weren’t allowed to shake hands, so Kyle led the Spiders in a rousing round of “Hip, Hip, Hooray, Yay, Beetles” to show they were good sports.  The team celebrated by playing on the nearby playground with arguably more gusto than they had shown in the game.

We rounded up our now-sweaty five-year-old and loaded him in the car with his brother, the lawn chairs, the soccer balls, the water bottles, the snack cooler, and a change of clothes because Five was in the habit of getting hot/cold/itchy with his uniform around halftime.

“Did you have fun, buddy?” I asked as we pulled away.

“YES,” Five said.  “I love basketball.”

“That was soccer,” I reminded him.

“Oh, yeah,” he said.  “I like soccer, too.”

The photo above is of Coach Kyle.

This week’s news is about a new museum in Antler, recovery after a cow attack, and Tigirlily.  Read on.

After Lakota’s Kris (who is fighting throat cancer) and Dave Beck lost their home in a fire, the Lakota community donated the proceeds of a city-wide garage sale (and let them take whatever they wanted), and Aneta’s Jack Kueber sold them a “substantially-discounted” home in the nearby town (and also gave them money to renovate). (Grand Forks Herald)

Antler’s town square – the community’s foundational building – has had many life: as a rooming house, a bank, and now, a museum.  And here’s an interesting fact: it’s the last-remaining original town square in North Dakota. (KX Net)

Congratulations to Fargo’s Courtney Schaff and Twin Buttes’ Jodi Rave Spotted Bear on being awarded two of twenty-four Bush Fellowships! (Fargo Forum)

Dickinson’s Jayne Ketterling received the Stark County Spirit of Excellence Award for gathering 11,000 pounds of food, sundries, and cash donations in order to “save Christmas for many families in need.” (Dickinson Press)

Walcott’s Robert Nord had a tough year – a cow broken his back, he contracted COVID-19, and then needed gallbladder surgery – but it’s gotten a little easier thanks to Farm Rescue helping him get his crop in the ground. (KVRR)

Newly-signed Tigirlily is coming to Medora on July 5. (Williston Herald)

The Minot community is lifting up 19-year-old Angeleah Bursiek as she works through an ALS diagnosis. (KFYR TV)

Do you live in Minot and know a budding actor?  The Missoula Children’s Theatre is seeking 60 kids (ages 7+) for “Johnny Appleseed” in June. (Minot Daily News)

(Like Amanda Silverman Kosior and/or North Dakota Nice?  Check out last week’s story about two geese, and this other story about a sports rivalry, published with permission from The Red Cent.)

Nice news of the day – October 2, 2018

Against odds, North Star Farms grows North Dakota peanuts (MyNDNow)

Marvin Baker likes to grow against the grain.  North Star Farms, located in Carpio, has planted tobacco, cotton, okra, peaches – and, for the past 13 years, peanuts.  This year North Star Farms put in 1,300 plants and harvested all of them by hand.  On his personal blog, Marvin said he is going to try cranberries and marshmallow in the coming years.

Walcott’s four stop signs get a musical upgrade (Fargo Forum)

While it’s against the law to deface a stop sign, law enforcement in Walcott are giving a pass to an anonymous music lover who added song lyrics to the city’s four stop signs.  Lyrics include: STOP (collaborate and listen), STOP (hammer time), STOP (in the name of love), and (don’t) STOP (believing).

Fargo’s Dave Currier comes in second in Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Race (Bismarck Tribune)

Held every two years, the Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Race – according to its website – is the most difficult antique endurance race in the world.  Racers must use bikes manufactured (and still appear original) before 1928 to ride from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon.  Dave Currier placed second among 100 riders, and was assisted along the way by his wife, Kay, a co-worker, and two friends.

photo by Radu Marcusu

North Dakota Nice: Steve Lies and Brad Bekkedahl honored for their civic service

When you are in a position of leadership in a city government, you typically don’t get to leave your job behind at the end of the day – because your home is your work and your work is your home. While we should all make the effort to thank the thousands of civil servants who keep our sidewalks and roads clean and safe, our water running, and communities growing and thriving, the North Dakota League of Cities selects two individuals each year who deserve extra appreciation and gratitude.

This year, Wahpeton (and Abercrombie, Christine, Davenport, Dwight, Fairmount, Great Bend, Hankinson, Lidgerwood, Mantador, Mooreton, Walcott, and Wyndmere) City Attorney Steve Lies was named the Outstanding City Appointed Official, and Williston City Commissioner Brad Bekkedahl was awarded Outstanding City Elected Official.

Thank you to the great staff at the League of Cities for the following in-depth look at Steve and Brad’s service to Wahpeton, Williston, and North Dakota:


Steve Lies

Steve served as Wahpeton Assistant City Attorney from 1979-1984 and was appointed as City Attorney in 1984, a position he still holds. He is noted as an “enduring institution of knowledge” for his legal advice and political strategy analysis.

Steve not only uses his legal background to serve in the jurisprudence arena but has used his legal expertise to resolve issues with the EPA, FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers, saving cities hundreds of thousands of dollars and providing substantial economic development for all the cities he serves. Some examples of his work include:

  • securing a Housing and Urban Development Small Cities Grant that funded repairs on improvements on over 100 homes in Wahpeton;
  • serving as attorney for the Home Rule Charter Commission and the implementation of a local sales tax that has funded over $30 million in local economic development, infrastructure, recreations and flood mitigation;
  • negotiating with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for an additional $5 million in federal funding for water resources;
  • writing a lease and purchase agreement which netted the Community Development Corporation over $2.5 million in profits on the sale of a building vacated by a Fortune 500 company; and
  • creating numerous special assessment districts for infrastructure construction and repair that qualified for over $30 million in bank qualified municipal bonds for small cities.

As an attorney for many surrounding cities, Steve has written ordinances to streamline budget processes, purchasing rules, and even how businesses providing goods and services to North Dakota cities are paid. He has helped cities move from municipal to rural water and shepherded ordinances for special elections adopting local sales tax and lodging taxes. The cities of Wahpeton, ND and Breckenridge, MN enjoy the only golf course in North Dakota located in two states because of his legislative amendment.

Steve has received recognition by the Southeast Judicial Bar Association for contributions to community service such as North Dakota Catholic Charities, Kiwanis Club, St, Catherine’s Living Center, St. Francis Medical Center, Wahpeton Chamber of Commerce, Elks’ Club, President of North Dakota City Attorneys Association, North Dakota Deputy Secretary of State and Richland County Bar Association President.

In addition to his position as city attorney for Wahpeton, he also serves as city attorney for Abercrombie, Christine, Davenport, Dwight, Fairmount, Great Bend, Hankinson, Lidgerwood, Mantador, Mooreton, Walcott and Wyndmere.

Photo L to R: Blake Crosby, NDLC Executive Director; Dan Stenvold, NLDC President; Steve Lies, Patty Lies, Katie Andersen, NDLC Past President


Brad Bekkedahl

Brad’s nomination form began with the following statements: “Brad is the epitome of a civil servant. He has guided his city through economic prosperities and hardships, infrastructure buildouts and declines, and dramatic population swings with all that brings to the job of city government. Leadership and work ethics are the values he exhibits.”

In his announcement that the Outstanding City Appointed Official award was being presented to Brad, NDLC Executive Director Blake Crosby outlined a few of his many accomplishments that support these statements in his nomination:

Brad joined the United States Army Reserves in 1984, enlisted in the North Dakota Army National Guard in 2002 and served a tour in Iraq at Camp Adder in Tallil, Iraq. He has received many awards and commendations for his military service such as the Global War on Terrorism Medal, North Dakota National Guard Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal and Meritorious Service Medal. He still is a member of the Guard and puts in his one weekend per month and two weeks each summer…another indication of his selfless service.

In the city of Williston, Brad has served on the Park Board, as city Finance Commissioner from 1996 to present (22 years), represented District 1 in the North Dakota Senate since 2015 and has been a dentist for more than 30 years.

As a North Dakota Senator, Brad has worked tirelessly to champion the needs of cities. His experience on the Williston City Commission brings invaluable expertise and knowledge to his position on the Senate Political Subdivisions standing committee. His colleagues on that committee frequently look to him to guide their decisions and Brad is always looking out for the best interest of all North Dakota cities.

Brad actively and generously supports a variety of hometown organizations including Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Boy Scouts, Amateur Hockey, a number of resource conservation and economic development councils, Theodore Roosevelt Expressway, NDDOT Strategic Statewide Transportation Forum and the North Dakota oil and gas producing counties.

Photo L to R: Tate Cymbaluk, Williston City Commissioner and NDLC Executive Board Member; Howard Klug, Williston Mayor; Brad Bekkedahl; David Tuan, Williston City Administrator Photo Credit: Andrea Duntz

Thank you, Steve, Brad, and all of the amazing city staff across North Dakota!