VHS Tanager's Ruminations by Jim Prosser The game of football, by its very nature, creates an adversarial atmosphere which involves "one-on-one" conflict between the players on opposite sides of the line of scrimmage, implemented at the snap of the ball, each play.
Every member of both teams has the purpose of disrupting the plans of the other. This sets up situations where one opponent is successful and the other fails. These confrontations are the essence of the game � every success for an individual player is a victory and every failure, a defeat. In meeting the adversity of losses and the joy of wins builds the character of the players involved. An understanding that not every endeavor will be successful aids in accepting some losses, no matter how they are confronted.
The Vermillion High School football team in 1965 had many successes and few failures in achieving their "perfect season." The Vermillion community was justifiably proud of the team, and raised funds to send the team and coaches to a Vikings game in Minneapolis. But the trip never was taken.
A short time before the scheduled trip, one of the young men who had been a mainstay on the team, playing on both the offensive and defensive line, Dennis Helseth, met an untimely death. The reaction of his team-mates was immediate and unanimous � they cancelled the Vikings' game trip and requested that all the money raised be designated as a memorial for Denny.
This is the meaning of life and the manner in which players on a team become more than mates, but comrades and brothers.
The funds were used to establish the "Dennis Helseth Memorial Award" to be presented to a senior member of the Tanager football team.
Denny's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Helseth, met with a committee to select criteria to be used in determining the recipient of the annual award. They are: Scholarship, Character, Service, Leadership and Football Ability. The award has been presented every year since and includes a medal and the winner's name added to the plaque on the wall at the VHS office, along with all previous recipients.
The first recipient of the Dennis Helseth Memorial Award was Tom Graf, who was Denny's side-by-side teammate on offense during the 1965 football season. The second recipient in 1967 was Tony Glass, who was a fellow tackle with Denny on defense.
The entire list of the football players who have received this recognition will be listed with some comments in a future article.