President's Column for Traill County Tribune

October 12, 2019 

Outstanding character makes us Comet Proud!

During the past several days, a couple of people who are near and dear to my heart have faced adversity and handled it in ways that have elevated the level of respect I have for each of them. Ricky Flowers, from Oakland, Calif., is a senior linebacker on the Mayville State football team. Gunnar Petersen is a senior on the football team at May-Port CG High School.

Both have recently suffered knee injuries that have ended or nearly ended their football careers at their current levels. Flowers will be out for the season. There’s a chance Gunnar will be able to participate in post-season playoff games.

How we act when times are bad says a lot about a person. At the October 5 Comets game, Ricky stuck with his team until the end, even though he had been pretty seriously injured part-way into the game. He exemplified what it means to be a member of a team when he supported his teammates until the clock ran out, even though he was hurting. This young man without a doubt deserves our admiration.

As disappointing is it is, Ricky summed up the situation in a very positive way by saying, “Things never go truly as planned, but if you have faith and determination, your biggest downfall can become your greatest upcoming.”

Gunnar Petersen reacted to his disappointment in almost the exact way. With a smile on his face, he said, “It might stink that I got injured - my teammates were relying on me to finish, finish the game and finish the season. We are a team. But things happen and we have to accept them. Football is a game of character. If you get knocked down, you always get back up (maybe with some help) and hopefully play the next snap and fight again. Just because things don’t go as planned in a game (or in life), you find a way to do what you were doing, but in a different way. Now I will support my team by cheering from the sideline, instead of fighting from the offensive line. I will cheer a little louder, support a little more, and believe that God and my teammates will do the rest. It’s important to have great attitude and great character. Thankfully, my injury isn’t serious enough to require surgery. I will heal.”

Wow! I am in awe and grateful that I have been blessed to get to know these outstanding individuals! It hurts to the core of my soul to see these guys suffer adversity, but I know they will be okay. They have outstanding character! It’s this kind of young student who we want to wear Come blue and to be our future leaders.

As president of Mayville State University, it is my greatest privilege and pleasure to have the opportunity to get to know students like Ricky and Gunnar. People are first and foremost at Mayville State University, and I know there are many more examples of students, faculty, and staff members with the fine character I have described here. They shine in good times and bad. That’s what sets Mayville State apart, and I couldn’t be more Comet Proud!