On Vikings, Huskers, work and motorcycles

Published 7:15am Sunday, January 20, 2013

Column: Staff Notes, by Micah Bader

Being a native Minnesotan, it’s nice to be back.

I’ve always loved sports, and growing up in the small town of Vesta, I became a fan of just about everything Minnesota offers: Vikings, Timberwolves, Gophers, Twins and even the St. Paul Saints.

I remember Clem Haskins getting fired amid controversy after making the Final Four. The Kevin Garnett trade. The ’98 Vikings who should’ve won the Super Bowl but lost to the Falcons. Watching Randall Cunningham float the ball to Randy Moss, it didn’t get much better for me as a kid.

Even after moving to Norfolk, Neb., in third grade, I would still check on my teams from the north. Although, I must admit, my entire family is filled with die-hard Nebraska Cornhusker fans, even before we moved to the state. I’m one, as well. A huge one. When I decided I’d like a career in journalism, I looked at Nebraska’s program. The instructors were helpful, and the program has a history of producing success. Being able to provide color commentary for 90.3 KRNU at various Husker sporting events was just an added bonus.

After graduating, I accepted a job as the sports editor at the Cedar Valley Times in Vinton, Iowa. That town and surrounding area has a dear place in my heart. I met a lot of people and made a lot of friends.

When the roads were clear of ice, I’d get my gear and ride my motorcycle to the surrounding communities to provide area coverage. My camera and notepad would fit in the saddlebags, and away I’d go. I’d think, “Wow, I get paid to ride my bike around and go to games.” Obviously, there is much more to a job in the journalism profession than that: page layout, page proofing, photography and video editing, brainstorming story ideas, getting in touch with sources, website publishing etc.

But when you’re riding to a baseball game for work, it’s easy to think positively.

Motorcycles are one of my hobbies. Journalism, although fun, has a lot of deadlines. Sometimes a lot of stress. Sometimes angry parents. Sometimes angry readers. Sometimes just angry people, and sometimes they don’t even subscribe to the paper. But get on the back of a bike, and the stress melts away.

My first bike was a 1987 BMW K75. It was an old touring bike with a 750 cc engine and 107,000 miles — just a hair past its prime. It must have been one of the first fuel-injected bikes. I was told “maintain it, and it’ll run forever.” The paint was blue. Well, it used to be blue. By the time it was mine, the pigment was gone.

After re-painting it, I sold it and bought a 1999 BMW R1100s. That’s too much power, but that’s also what makes it fun.

Repainting the bike was a challenge, but I like to push myself to get better. That’s one of the reasons why I took the job as sports editor at the Albert Lea Tribune. The Cedar Valley Times was published twice a week, but the Tribune comes out six times a week. With three times as many deadlines, I’m excited for the challenge.

Playing sports in high school taught me to embrace and overcome challenges. Sports are great because they teach about life. That may be why I like to write about it so much.

I also enjoy music. Genres I like range from indie rock to metalcore. My grandpa from Valentine, Neb., still plays in a country-folk band, and we strum along together whenever we get the opportunity.

When I was living in Iowa, I’d go to my parents for the holidays and travel through Albert Lea on the way. Now that I’ve moved here, my neighbors and the staff at the paper have been very welcoming. I’m excited to be your new sports editor!


Micah Bader is the sports editor for the Tribune. He started Jan. 2.