Thumbs Up/Down

CHS’s Bob Mertz

THUMBS UP: By any standard you apply, Bob Mertz’s career as the softball coach at Cathedral High School in New Ulm has been exceptional. In his 39 years, he has a won-loss record of 802-141, an .851 winning percentage. His teams have won seven state championships.

But winning isn’t everything, it’s how you play the game, as Grantland Rice so famously said. And Mertz has played, or coached, the game well — not just the game of softball, but the game of life.

When Mertz announced his retirement to his team on Friday, he left behind a decades-long legacy of young women whom he has uplifted and taught to aspire to great things.

We join all his former players in thanking him for his influence, and in wishing him a happy retirement.

Gov’t shutdown

THUMBS DOWN: As this was being written, they were still talking in Washington, but no one was holding out much hope that a partial shutdown of the federal government could be averted. The shutdown would have gone into effect at midnight.

The issue, of course, is $5 billion in funding for the wall along the border with Mexico, which President Donald Trump insists is absolutely necessary to preserve America’s safety from all the “bad people” who want to come to America. So to protect us from the harm he imagines will happen, he is inflicting real harm on the American people, including the government employees who will be laid off from work during the Christmas season.

Congress and the president need to get this fixed as soon as possible.

Thank you, Duane

THUMBS UP: Duane Winter’s run as a member of the District 88 School Board has come to an end with the adjournment of his final board meeting Thursday. His 12 years on the board, and nine years as board chairman, have been a good time for the district, which is in excellent shape for the future. Thank you, Duane, for your service.