This past week seemed like it was a little bit of everything.

So, here are some brief thoughts on a busy week:

THE OLYMPICS

It’s hard for me to believe, but the Olympics are just two days away.

To me, the Olympics are the epitome of sports competition. The first Olympics I remember well was 1984 – and really, just the Los Angeles Summer Olympics. I was old enough to understand the boycott and yet young enough to get caught up in the U.S. medal craze that resulted from it.

When the Games kick off, there will be plenty of sports action, little to no spectators (thanks, COVID-19) – and no video games. From 1984 on, starting with my Commodore-64 and continuing on through the 2008 CD game I owned, I collected as many video games from the Olympics as I could.

I miss those days. It was the only time I was ever going to hear the national anthem played for one of my ... “sporting” ... accomplishments.

All joking aside, though, athletes work their entire lives for a chance to compete at the Olympics – whether it be to simply honor the Olympic spirit and compete, or in tight competition for medals. Whatever the goals are for athletes in the coming two weeks, I hope Tokyo lives up to their dreams.

WATCH WHERE YOU SIT

Back in the late spring of 2020, I busted my glasses. Thanks to insurance, I traveled to Baxter to have my glasses repaired and came home with a wonderful new pair.

I also came home with a protection plan. When it was pitched to me, I snapped it up – in large part because I’ve had my glasses broken by volleyballs, snapped by kerchiefs and as of the other day, bent and broken because I sat on them.

Thank God for protection plans.

WHEN IN DOUBT, PROVIDE WATER!

The Aitkin County Fair had a glorious turnout this year, according to organizers. Rides, shows, judging and car racing – oh, my!

But something has to be said about the volunteers manning booths at the fair. Most of the booths offered snacks and water. These kind folks, out there to promote, also took care of fairgoers.

RICH LILJENQUIST

Finally, while covering my first Aitkin County Fair, Rich Liljenquist’s spirit was certainly hanging around the fairgrounds.

Lilijenquist, who was honored with the grandstands being renamed for him last summer, died in February. Before the start of the Friday night races at this year’s fair, his family memorialized him for the crowd in the grandstands – a crowd of close to 2,000 people.

Liljenquist’s family was also part of the tractor parade the following day. For decades, Liljenquist helped the Aitkin County Fair happen – whether it be cleaning the grounds, helping build picnic tables or serving on the fair board.

Rest in peace, Rich, and know that you were well-remembered by those at the fair this year.

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