Lindsay Whalen may just be Minnesota’s favorite native daughter, which makes everything in the tribute ceremony dedicating the Hutchinson (Minn.) High School gymnasium in her honor pretty much pitch perfect, as detailed by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
There was the video tribute to Whalen’s dominant careers in the WNBA, at Minnesota and in high school at Hutchinson. There was a heart-felt tribute from one of Whalen’s favorite high school teachers, Arlyn DeBruyckere.
And then, the coup de grace: Whalen’s high school coach, Andy Rostberg, provided a touching testimonial via video. Why couldn’t he be there in person? Because Rostberg was on a previously scheduled elk hunting trip. Really.
Rostberg’s tribute hit the right notes — you can read the most direct section from it below, via the Star Tribune — but it would be pretty much impossible to top the fact that he missed the dedication because he was on an elk hunting trip.
“Someone grabbed me by the arm and said, ‘Coach, I hope you know what you’re doing with this experiment with this little Whalen kid,’ ” he recalled. “ ‘If you don’t, there will be a storm that rains down on you.’ Little did they know. And you were the storm that was raining down on everybody. You did it with grace and grit and courage.’’
Whalen is proud to be from Hutchinson, she’s proud to be from Minnesota, to have played for the Gophers and now be coaching the Gophers. That makes her proud to be from the kind of community where she would stop for a donut on the way to a varsity basketball practice and where he coach spent vacation days away on an elk hunting trip. If that isn’t a wonderfully typical Minnesota identity worth celebrating with a gymnasium, we’re not sure what is.