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Patrick Reusse has been covering sports in the Twin Cities since 1968.

Reusse: State title just the beginning for '59 Wayzata basketball player

– I was attempting to track down individuals involved in Wayzata’s 1959 state basketball championship and discovered that starting forward Ray Zitzloff had a place here in The Fort, as well as back home in Minnesota.

Ray was better known to me as a Gophers football end in the early ’60s. Like so many U athletes from that era, Zitzloff has had an interesting and successful career in the business world.

He was raised in Wayzata when it was a village, when the rich kids lived in grand homes in the Ferndale area and went to Blake, and the other kids went to the small local high school.

Ray was one of the latter. His father died when he was 3. His family lived in a little home a few blocks from Lake Minnetonka. He started fishing and later in life would turn it into one of his businesses:

North of Sixty, a fly-in fishing service that took clients above Manitoba and beyond the 60th parallel to Canada’s endless waters. He bought a large hunk of land for camps and built a 6,000-foot air strip.

Ray’s a pilot, although he employed others to fly in the fishermen. “I had 14 planes at one time; now, I’m down to two,’’ Zitzloff said. “The price of fuel and restrictions on getting it into that part of Canada eventually made it unfeasible financially.’’

Anybody need a 6,000-foot air strip in the wilds of Canada? I didn’t ask, but Ray might make you a deal.

As it always does when I’m face-to-face with a Gopher from the 1962 season, the conversation turned to the officiating calamity in Madison at season’s end that cost the Gophers a third straight Rose Bowl.

Don’t get Ray (or me) started on those refs. We also agreed on this: Bobby Lee Bell was the greatest Gophers football player of all.

Ray had a better view of Mr. Bell in his Outland Trophy season of 1962 than the rest of us.

“I got to play next to Bobby,’’ he said. “What an athlete. What a competitor. What a privilege for me.’’


Notes discovered while reading sports sections from March 1959:

•  Gene Mauch, Minneapolis Millers manager, was hoping a 4-pound iron ball could rehab his ailing right arm and allow him to also play. He’d get eight at-bats.

•  The Wayzata hairstyles weren’t “ducktail or anything like that,’’ but the Trojans had passed on the crewcuts worn by the players from other tournament teams.

•  The Kalmikoff Brothers defeated Butch Levy and Karl Karlsson in a tag-team main event at the Minneapolis Armory. The Russians also cheated.

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Reusse: False patriotism of NFL scoundrels could keep Kaepernick unemployed

There is enough evil in the hierarchy of the National Football League and among the league’s 32 owners for the blackballing of quarterback Colin Kaepernick to be an unofficial policy.

There’s also the possibility that Kaepernick’s inability to find a landing spot is based on business decisions made independently, with all 32 clubs fearing the loss of a local sponsor or two should they sign the young man who chose to kneel during the National Anthem before games during the 2016 season.

Option No. 3 is that every personnel boss in the league has deemed that Kaepernick’s skill set – remarkable runner, unreliable passer – is not workable with the read option having come and gone so quickly as a prime NFL offensive weapon.

It is unfortunate on varying degrees in all three options, because Kaepernick was sincere in making his mild protest to what he saw as troubling times for the poor and displaced.

He has backed up the Anthem kneel-down with hundreds of thousands of his dollars and much energy to support causes, including the shipping of tons of food in an attempt to save the starving in Somalia.

So what if he knelt in the background as the Anthem was played?

A player who doesn’t stand in some football stadium in America and he is tarnishing those who have fought for our country for 250 years, and those who are serving now?

Give me a break.

It’s a song, not an action.

Kaepernick has acted nobly in recent months, while millions of the rest of us have done nothing other than to pat ourselves on the back for being offended that this committed athlete knelt during a weekly ritual.

Samuel Johnson, the distinguished Englishman of the 1700s, was credited with the famous quote: “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.’’

His friend and biographer, James Boswell, said that Johnson was referring to “false patriotism,’’ and there’s plenty of that going around in the case of Kaepernick’s critics  – plenty of it to be found in the NFL offices and with 32 NFL teams, for that matter.

Heck, numerous teams have accepted nice chunks of money to put on artificial displays of patriotism in their stadiums, including our anything-for-a-big-buck Vikings.

I don’t know where Colin fits with those unique skills, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the hard-partying, hard-drinking punk without a cause, Johnny Manziel, gets a shot in the NFL before Kaepernick.

It might be a fine idea for Kaepernick’s agent to call teams in the Canadian Football League and find him a place to start for a couple of years. The politics aren’t as restrictive up there (even though O Canada is a catchier anthem), nor are the guidelines for playing quarterback.

Dear Colin:

Check this out with Doug Flutie. He was another unconventional quarterback who went to Canada, resurrected his career and got some run when he returned to the NFL. And you're taller, faster and with a stronger arm.

They'd love you in Canada.

TV Listings

Local Schedule

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  • Tampa Bay at Twins (spring training)

    12:05 pm on FSN

  • Timberwolves at Indiana

    6 pm on FSN PLUS, 830-AM

  • Washington at Wild

    7 pm on NHLN, 100.3-FM

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  • Colorado at Wild

    5 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Kansas City at Twins

    3:10 pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Portland at Timberwolves

    6 pm on FSN, 830-AM

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