Reusse: Wolves’ success rewards a fanbase that’s been there from the start

Many students in the class of 2024 at Maple Grove High School were heading with family and friends to warmer places when spring break arrived in late March.

Stephanie Halverson, an education support professional at Oak View Elementary in the district, was also free from work obligations.

Stephanie and her husband Phil asked their second year son, Camden, what trip he might want to take during the break.

“He had classmates going to Jamaica, places like that,” Stephanie said Tuesday. “Camden said, ‘I want to go to Boston and watch our Wolves play the Celtics. ”

That’s where the Halversons were on March 27, a Sunday that didn’t work out on the scoreboard – Celtics 134-112 – but satisfied the Timberwolves’ family passion in every other way.

“Camden has hundreds of autographs with NBA players and signed photos,” Stephanie said. “A big task for me was figuring out where the Timberwolves would stay. I narrowed it down to the Four Seasons and the Ritz-Carlton.”

A call to the Ritz-Carlton led to a strong clue that there was no sports team staying there. The Halversons head to the Four Seasons.

“My son and I were the only two fans who knew where they were,” Stephanie said. “The players posed for photos with us after they returned from filming. And someone whispered to me what time the buses for the arena left.

“They were as friendly as possible with us. How can you not love this team? They are the nicest human beings.”

The Halversons had a pair of subscriptions at the start of the Kevin Garnett era. “Then we started having kids and we dropped the tickets,” Stephanie said. “We always followed Wolves, we always loved them. And a few years ago we became subscribers again.

A playoff appearance and victory in the 2004 Western Conference Finals last Saturday in Memphis? Weren’t there any comebacks when you said, “Why are we doing this?”

Stephanie laughed lightly and said, “We’re picking tickets for wolves on a family summer vacation.

“I’m from California. I moved to Minnesota 25 years ago. And I fell in love with this state – even those dark winter days, because I know they’re going to end, and we’ll have spring , and a splendid summer and a marvelous autumn.

“For me, those Timberwolves became a perfect metaphor for being a Minnesotan. We had those dark winters with them, but now this great team has come for us.”

Right there is Stephanie, a Timberwolves fan who endured endless defeats but never let the Halversons fandom be defeated.

They are not alone.

Alexei Moon Casselle, musician, eighth-grade English teacher at Battle Creek Elementary on the East Side of St. Paul:

“I grew up in south Minneapolis and got into the NBA in the early 90s when I was 11, 12 because of Michael Jordan. And I was like, ‘We have a team too, but we are never spoken to. in regards to.’ Then KG [Kevin Garnett] came and made us a serious player.

“Ever since then I’ve been a Timberwolves fan. I now have tickets with other teachers. There were so many dark days…but there were early signs that this season would be different.

“And then the play-in game. Sitting there I kept thinking, this is a game the old Timberwolves would have found a way to lose seven different ways.”

One of Casselle’s bands is called “Kill the Vultures” and tours Europe in the summer. How about Patrick Beverley as a leader?

“I would love for Pat Bev to come to school and get my students to do their homework,” Casselle said.

Mike Reiners, administrator, teacher, coach at Christ’s Household of Faith in St. Paul: “I went to a few games the first season [1989-90] in the Metrodome and I’ve been a fan ever since. All the bad years… I’ve never been to the point of losing interest.

“The Timberwolves and the Vikings have the same hold on me. They are irresistible attractions.

“That qualifying game; I said to my wife Gloria, ‘KAT is playing the worst game of their life and we’re two points behind.’ To win that one… I’m heading to Game 3 on Thursday. I can’t wait.

Rob Shelquist, Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball in 1982 for Irondale High, now a partner at law firm Lockridge Grindal Nauen:

“I’m a giant hoop head. We were going to 10-15 games a season. A lot of them were just a good night for (wife) Kim and me. Halfway through this season you could feeling like things were starting to The arena was fuller, the fans were a lot louder.

“I don’t know why so many people criticized the celebration at the end of the qualifying game. You would think they would understand, after all the resets we went through with this team, everyone deserved to let go.”

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