February 25 was a rough day. Carson Wentz was participating in an NFL showcase, and news of his intelligence and maturity and talent was everywhere. It was also the day we learned of Scott Miller’s death. One rising star, one too soon gone.
Carson embarking on an astounding career as a quarterback, just a nice young man from Bismarck making it big. Scott, who called Bison games on the radio for years and years, dying of melanoma. Even if you don’t know him, you know him: “My oh my,” his sincere trademark when things were going well for the team.
The emotional toll was maybe a little bit lighter, feeling that Scott was the kind of guy who would want us to savor the experience of Carson. How much our little hearts warm when yet another big-time analyst calls him the best quarterback in the draft in years. Marvels at his athletic ability, admires his humility. The governor of North Dakota is interviewed for Sports Illustrated, says “Our buttons are just popping.” And the Sports Illustrated writer says: “… there’s something, well, needed about a humble straight-A student (I mean, Wentz has never gotten a B in school) trying to become the state’s best athletic export since Roger Maris left Fargo 62 years ago.”
I can’t imagine the radio voice of the Bison not loving that. I met Scott many years ago. He was kind to me, which I found amazing because I was young and didn’t understand true kindness like his yet. I didn’t get many chances to talk with him, but he always launched a big smile and a real hello any time we crossed paths. Fifty seven is awfully young to die.
This same week, we’d also mourned Jason Moszer, a 2009 NDSU graduate who served in the National Guard, became a Fargo police officer, and was killed in the line of duty, the first such death in Fargo in 134 years. Thousands of law enforcement officers from all over the United States and Canada showed their respects in a twenty-one mile long procession through town. The day was cloudy and a light snow was falling, and the miles and miles of police cars with red and blue lights silently turning was a gut-wrenching sight. Jason was only thirty three. Your heart just breaks for his family.
Seldom are the highs and lows so very stark, thank goodness. But how clearly it shows us who we are. We stand together, to celebrate a future and prop each other up in the face of loss and tragedy. What a privilege it is to share that bond with thousands of you.
And as time does march on, we carry on, together.
Carson went second in the NFL draft. The buildup was like nothing we’d ever seen and there are no signs of the excitement fading any time soon.
It made me think about how many achievements go relatively unnoticed. Students at NDSU continue to discover and challenge and compete in all kinds of ways. They are, literally, making the world a better place. Curing cancer, protecting the safety of food, helping new Americans find their way here, developing inexpensive limb replacement options, and much, much more. What would we call a network devoted to coverage of these guys? The North Dakota State Amazing People Network — NDSAPN? Seems a little unwieldy, but you get the point.
And so this issue is meant to celebrate all of the wonderful people of NDSU. Beyond the astounding feat of five years at the top of a game. As wonderful and joyful and clear cut as those five wins are, they stand as the symbols of the zillions of other victories we all win every day. For the students in all of our 100-plus academic areas, for our 80,000-plus graduates, and maybe most of all for our sense of connection. No matter where you see those four letters, those two colors, we are part of one identity. It means we know about caring for each other, pushing each other to be better, grounding one another in a genuine humility, and when the time is right, hooting
at the top of our lungs, in celebration.