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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hot Dang, Isn't This fun!

After the Milnor quarterfinal win, Coach Imdieke was all smiles as he addressed his team in the winning locker room. “Great job today. Oh boy, that was fun,” he told his fresh from the showers team. “The best we have looked all year. Well seniors, we got one more here (at home). We need a good week of practice, everybody focused and then we head to the Dome. What do you think? I told you, hot dang, isn’t this fun.”

The win over Milnor was the 298th in the illustrious 35 year tenure of Imdieke at Linton. To get to the magic and seldom reached number of 300 this season, Imdieke's Lions would need to win next Saturday and the state title game to be held in two weeks at the Fargo Dome. It is doubtful that the long-time coach even is aware of the possible milestone achievement in his near future; he is having too much fun in the present.

Casey Stengel was an often quoted and loveable manager of the New York Yankees; as well known for his eccentric quotes and sayings as he was for the seven world series titles his Bronx Bombers won. Standing next to Imdieke on the sidelines at a Linton game is akin to spending the afternoon at a baseball game in the dugout with the late Stengel - on steroids.

Imdieke keeps up a non-stop chatter with anyone on the sidelines who will listen. His enthusiasm is contagious. His quarterback Tanner Purintun, says it is hard to have a bad day with the coach around. “That is what coach is known for, making football fun. Sometimes I think I take it more serious than he does, but he just has a way of having you ready to play. A lot of times I will think before a game, well, maybe we aren’t as ready as we should be and then the game will start, and everything he said all week that the other team would do on defense, they do. But yeah, it is obvious that he knows what he is doing and also that he really enjoys what he is doing.”

Having one of the best coaching years of his career, Imdieke’s team was not even mentioned in the pre-season as a top 10 club, but are still standing after the Milnor win, one of only four Class A team’s left in the state of North Dakota.

Stengel once said, “When you are younger you get blamed for crimes you never committed and when you're older you begin to get credit for virtues you never possessed. It evens itself out." Imdieke is enjoying the same type of elder statesman stature now, earned by his years of success. “I like this team because of the chemistry,” he says. “They all bring things to the team with their different personalities, that when you put them all together, they make a strong group. We have had better individual talent on a lot of our teams here, but this group is a strong team and that is why we have won a lot of the close game we have this year. They know they can count on each other.”

And hot dang, that makes football a fun game.

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