A few years ago I handed a player of the game (POG) t-shirt to a volleyball player. Her mother thanked me later with tears in her eyes. She went on to explain how her daughter was going through a tough time and how much the recognition with the POG t-shirt and picture of her with the shirt on social media meant to her and her family.

It was at that moment I realized that this small gesture is a pretty big deal to some people. I have many stories like this over the years of handing a POG shirt to high school athletes. You can thank Tayna Theising of Neon Needles in Dawson for this. It was her idea many years ago. Tayna and her mother Deb Farmen own and operate Neon Needles, a small business on main street Dawson. It’s a ladies boutique clothing, embroidery and screen printing shop. Tayna came up with the idea of me naming a player of the game after each broadcast and giving them a t-shirt and taking their picture and posting it on my social media sites.

It’s actually a partnership with Neon Needles, Subway and KLQP radio. Gary Hendrickx owner of the Subways in Appleton, Dawson and Clara City wanted to recognize the POG with a free Subway meal coupon. So that was added to the t-shirts. For me it’s been so rewarding and fun to name a POG and visit with each student athlete after the game. I usually take their picture to post on our social media sites.

I will admit sometimes it’s very difficult to name a POG. Lately, I have named two or three POG, because I just can’t name one. It can be a challenge sometimes. For instance, if a team has a super star athlete, you can name him or her POG just about every game. Once a really good girls basketball player already had collected many POG shirts and finally told me to name someone else. Which was nice of her. Her mom had been wearing some of the shirts for night shirts.

I have had some fun with the POG t-shirts. I have named a few honorary POG. During the football season, I was broadcasting from RB Clay Field in Dawson on a rainy night. It was raining so hard at times the water was running down the large window and I couldn’t see the action on the field to call the game. In jumps Gunnar Olson who was running the game camera for the team. He grabs a large push broom and wraps a towel around the broom and goes outside and wipes the window in front of me so I can see the field! Way to go Gunnar! In my mind he was the POG!

Last week before the Dawson-Boyd girls basketball game, since there was no band to play the National Anthem they were having a hard time finding someone to sing the anthem. Up steps Cadence Dove, she said she would. I thanked her for saying yes to singing the National Anthem on short notice and then with a big smile on her face she told me that she should get a POG shirt for this. I laughed and then thought she’s right! So I made her day and gave her a honorary POG t-shirt. Another time I have a POG shirts to Morgan Hennen and her sister Abby thought she should have been named POG and the sisters took a picture of them fighting over the POG t-shirt at home. That was pretty funny.

I think my favorite POG picture is with some of the Canby volleyball players that I named POG! Actually I named four of them! They had a tremendous match against Maccray in Clara City. After interviewing Coach Wright and the four girls, I presented the girls with the POG t-shirts. So as usual I took a selfie with them for my social media sites. What I didn’t know at the time was that a mom was taking a picture of me and the girls taking my selfie. I thought that was a pretty cool picture.

Canby Lancer Volleyball POG

The Player of the Game t-shirts and Subway value coupons have been a big hit over the years. What makes me really happy is seeing the kids wearing their shirts. I have received emails, letters, and cards of thanks from the kids and parents. When I hand the kids a t-shirt I make sure and tell them to thank Neon Needles and Subway, because they are the ones that make it happen.

Tony Ourada State Farm Ad