It was back in the Soaring Seventies when I made a foolish wager with a good friend who was 10 years younger.
One night, after we played a baseball game, I bet my friend that I would get "carded" (asked for an ID while purchasing beer) at age 30 or beyond in an era when the legal age was 21. A couple months went by and it looked as though the summer would end without my end of that ego-driven bet coming to fruition. I heard about it from my friend on a regular basis as I neared the age of 31.
And then the stars aligned for a brief moment..
After a baseball game some of the boys gathered a few dollars and I was designated, as one of the older guys, to purchase a case of beer at Princeton's municipal liquor establishment. The transaction took place and, luckily, the friend with whom I had made the bet was along for the ride and witnessed the purchase.
We walked out and he was silent, shaking his head as we made our way to the car. And then he started in on me, saying i had set it up, which wasn't the case. Before the night was over he paid off on the bet, with some other witnesses to the foolishness we had concocted earlier that summer.
The payoff was only for a few dollars but that was insignificant. It was the principle of the thing.
The summer ended, we remained good friends for a long time, and it was the subject of many discussions throughout the years. We had a lot of laughs when it became the subject of a late-night talk more than 30 years later. He's not alive today or you can bet we'd still be talking about it, me bragging and him still shaking his head.
So what does this have to do with anything? Suffice it to say I wish my friend was still around.
On Thursday afternoon, at a little Italian-flavored restaurant/ bar in Englewood, Florida, where song after song by Frank Sinatra was playing over the sound system, a fellow Princetonian was along as we walked in to get a couple beers.
And then the unbelievable happened: The waitress, a Minnesota native as it turned out, asked for identification.
We started laughing, thinking she was joking. She shook her head and said, no, she really wanted identification. I took out my billfold, smiling and saying I would be more than happy to produce a driver's license, although I'll admit I almost didn't remember how to do it.
"Minnesota," she said after reading the birth date, letting us know that's where she was from. She did the math after checking the license and said she thought I qualified at age 76.
We ordered a beer, had it delivered, and walked to an outside table on a typically beautiful March afternoon in the Sunshine State, barely containing our laughter, as well as shaking our heads in wonderment. Was it a ruse to make us look like the idiot tourists that some Floridians think we all are? Was it for real? Were both of us dreaming?
The afternoon went by, we texted and called people from back in Minnesota to tell them what had taken place, and I and still haven't figured it out on this Friday morning.
I don't care if I figure it out or not. And I wish my friend was still around so I could give him a call and do some bragging, although he likely wouldn't believe me from 1,700 miles away. I think I'd require him to buy me one more PBR as a token of his friendship.
I could hear Sinatra singing "The Best Is Yet To Come," followed by "They Can't take That Away From Me." And then, as I walked to the car, feet barely touching the ground, I swear I could hear the strains of "You Make Me Feel So Young."
Spotted at the state basketball tournament when Princeton played were former PHS boys coaches Tom Stenson and Mike Arnold. Arnold was the coach of the 1974 team that made it to the regional final (only two classes in the state then) at Williams Arena. Stenson, who I played against in high school basketball in southern Minnesota, preceded Arnold as PHS coach and did something that was unusual at that time, starting a couple freshmen on the junior varsity team. Both became three-year starters for the varsity and were pivotal players in the run to the region title game. Arnold was a starter at St. Cloud State on a couple outstanding SCSU basketball teams after a good career at St. Cloud Tech. He also was a pitcher on the Princeton town baseball team after pitching for Clear Lake against Princeton before getting the Princeton job . . . Jose Berrios, now the true ace of the Minnesota Twins pitching staff, had a great game on Opening Day as the Twins beat Cleveland. He had six appearances in spring training, two of which I witnessed, and gave up runs in all six. Then he shut out the Indians. I guess that proves how important spring training statistics are . . . The Minnesota men's basketball team was a good team when it shot decently. That's proven by the fact that the Gophers beat Purdue, now in the NCAA's Elite Eight as this is written, twice in 10 days and absolutely shut down Carsen Edwards, now averaging 30 points a game in the NCAA tournament. Edwards scored 33 points in those two games but Minnesota held him to 23 percent shooting as he made only 11 of 48 shots. On the other hand in those two games, Jordan Murphy averaged 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Gophers..
PRINCETON SPORTS MEMORIES
April 2, 1959 - Top scorers for the basketball team were Russ Gerdin (17,7), Carl Knutson (10.7), and Terry Erickson (8.3). Gary Meixell was the leading rebounder.
April 2, 1964 - The Princeton baseball club was to have an organizational meeting at 8 p.m in the armory . . . In the Kenby Aces League at Kenby Lanes the top three series were 587 by Jerry Peterson, 575 by Tex McDonald and 562 by Jim Duffy.
April 2, 1969 - Tom Meyer finished second in the two-mile run at the Outstate meet at the University of Minnesota. Meyer ran a 9:55, breaking his school record of 9:57.8 from the previous year when he won the Rum River Conference in that event.
April 4, 1974 - Pete Errebo, Dave Cook and Kim Fairchild were all-conference in wrestling. Both Errebo and Fairchild were 7-0 in conference matches, Cook 6-1.
April 5, 1979 - Cheryl Kelley was all-conference in basketball . . . It was announced that PHS wrestlers Mark Rittenour, Jerry Betzler, Joel Betzler and Bruce Provo, along itch coach Lee Dettmer, would go to Europe in the summer as part of the Minnesota AAU wrestling program. Wrestlers had to win their way onto the team.
April 5, 1984 - PHS grad Jim Belfiori was on the baseball roster at Augsburg College as a wrestler . . . Another PHS alumnus at Augsburg, Barb Blomberg, averaged 9.9 points and 5.5 rebounds as a freshman basketball player . . . PHS point guard Brian Dorr was named to the St. Cloud Times five-player all-area basketball team after being named to the paper's all-area baseball team in 1983. He followed it up in the spring of 1984 by again making the paper's all-area baseball team and also being named the top player in the area, a much wider area than the paper covers now.
April 5, 1989 - Princeton lost 7-0 to Moorhead in a baseball game at the Metrodome that was the season opener . . . The PHS girls golf team, with every player returning from1988, set a goal of making it to the state tournament. The goal was met, and more. (See details in June.)
April 7, 1994 - Jon Huehn and Matt Sahlstrom were all-conference in basketball. Sahlstrom led in scoring at 17.1 and shot 84.4 percent on free throws. He ended up with 97 three-pointers, a school record . . . Making all-conference for girls in basketball were Heather Carlson and Sandy Thompson . . . The Northern State University basketball team, with PHS grad Paul Sather as the starting center, finished second in the country for the second straight year in NCAA Division II. Sather averaged 11.6 points and 5.5 rebounds in the tournament.
April 2, 1999 - It was the swan song for track coach Chuck Johnson who began coaching track at PHS in 1967-68. He had been an assistant or head coach ever since.
April 8, 2004 - Former PHS student John Stockler received a partial hockey scholarship at the University of Connecticut.
April 2, 2009 - PHS grad Scott Roehl played for Southwest State in the Division II national basketball tournament. Previous to that he had two 13-point gams in the Northern Sun Conference tournament. He scored 9 points in a loss to Cal Poly in the national tournament.
April 3, 2014 - The boys and girls track teams competed in a meet at St. Thomas University. Taylor Laabs placed in three events for the girls, and Cole Warren won the long jump for the boys.
Dorr is the former editor of the Princeton Eagle (2 years) and Princeton Union-Eagle (31 years), and has covered sports in the Princeton area for 52 years.