Surprise! Surprise? Surprise!?

Oct 23, 2012 at 9:26 am

The word surprise has a simple meaning in Webster’s Dictionary.  But when it comes to sports, it has as many meanings and emotional ties than just about any word I can think of.  Just check down the football list in Minnesota and you go from glee to glum and all with the use of the word surprise.

Surprise #1:  The Minnesota Vikings.  3-13 last season.  Already 5-2 and only one half game behind Chicago in the NFC North.  You knew AP and Percy would be good.  You knew that Ponder was likely to be a bit better.  You knew that Jared Allen would be a force on the d-line.  But the defense as a whole, especially the secondary, has been a massive surprise this season.  With their schedule, the Minnesota Vikings are a viable playoff contender down the stretch.  Wow! What a surprise!

Surprise #2:  The St John's Johnnies.  At 3-4 and only 1-4 in the MIAC, St Johns is in a rare position of not being a factor in the conference or nationally.  The past couple of seasons have seen the Johnnies drop a bit, but with three games left in the season, just trying to finish over .500 is left to be decided.  And the surprise of surprises is a small grumbling about the coach, one of the most beloved and the most winning coaches in football history.  Are you kidding me?  Even traditional powerhouses cycle through a rough stretch now and then.  And before you know it, they are right back in the mix.  And when – not if – that happens, it will not be a surprise.

Surprise #3:  The SCSU Huskies:  Surprises in football don’t necessarily need to be from a season.  They can be from a game.  That is the surprise that likely will keep the Huskies out of the NCAA tourney this season.  Northern State 28 and St Cloud State 27.  A shocker and surprise result from Saturday the 20th.  The Huskies were riding a 4 game win streak, including a road win over the then-unbeaten Wayne State, and, of course, the unbelievable win on the last play over then-#2 UMD.  Well it was the last play that doomed SCSU.  A hail mary pass for the Wolves snatched a fifth straight win from the Huskies.  SCSU can still finish 8-3 but will need a lot of help to get into the NCAAs.  If they miss, it would be a big surprise.  If they get in, it would be a big surprise.  So again, surprises on both ends of the emotional spectrum.

And finally, surprise #4:  The Apollo Eagles:  A program mired in a 22 game losing streak including the first 5 games of the season this year.  But they seemed differen,t even in defeat.  They were competing and “coming close.”  And surprise, it finally ended with a narrow victory on the road at Sauk Rapids/Rice.  But the Eagles surprise was just beginning.  A win over arch rival Tech, the first since 2003, was followed by a road win over Fergus Falls.  The Otters only needed a win to secure the Central Lakes Conference title.  So surprise, surprise, the Eagles are hosting a playoff game and are favored to move into the Sectional semi’s. 

It’s what makes sports fun at any level.  The unknown factor, good or bad, known as “ the surprise.”

Don Lyons

Posted By Don Lyons

Sports Directory

Don Lyons's Profile

Leave a Comment

Player of the Week

Abdiaziz Handule of St. Cloud Apollo

Abdiaziz Handule of St. Cloud Apollo

For the Week Of Oct 19, 2014

The Apollo Eagles are in the state tournament this week and it was in large part to the feet of Abdiaziz Handule, this week’s All Star...

Read More

Upcoming Sports Events

No games in the immediate future.