Passing of a Legend: Dick Hanson

I was saddened to hear of the passing of a legend this week.  On Tuesday, Dick Hanson passed away at the age of 80. For those of you who did not go to Burnsville Senior High School, you missed getting to know a great man.  Dick Hanson was a great mentor, tactician, teacher and man. He inspired so many of the students and my fellow football warriors to be a family and to be better people.

For a young kid that transferred to Burnsville Senior High School from a catholic school, football was my gateway to the school and the Burnsville community. Coach Hanson, the coaches and my teammates made my transition easier, and they pushed me to be a better student, a better football player, and a better leader on and off the field.

I went to the wake on Friday night, paid my respect and looked for old comrades.  The funeral home was busy with family, friends and players from earlier eras than when I played for coach.  I walked around the White Funeral Home, looking at pictures of happier times.  It also took me back to when Coach Hanson and Coach Jeppson came to my dad’s wake in November 2007.  Now, almost 17 years later, I was there for him, paying my respects and thinking about football and life lessons that I have learned in my 43 years.

Coach Hanson taught me one of the most important life lessons that I carry with me to this day: beauty is all around us.  How did he show a group of young men that life lesson?

Life Lesson: “Beauty is all around us”

Coach Hanson and the Burnsville Football Team

Coach Hanson and the Burnsville Football Team

I distinctly remember after one season (I believe after winning the Class AA Championship in the Metrodome in 1989), the team gathered in the Auditorium at the high school one last time.  Coach Hanson was at the front of the room, and after we quieted down, he congratulated us, played a highlight tape (yes, they were VHS tapes back then), and ended the meeting by reminding us that in our march to the Metrodome, we had completely missed the fall season.  It was true: it was Thanksgiving, and we had snow on the ground already.  He proceeded to show us a video of fall colors that was from the CBS Sunday Morning Show.

The late Charles Kuralt introduced the segment with his rich voice, and the studio and auditorium seemed to melt away to stunning scenes of the fall colors, wildlife and running water.  I couldn’t tell you where the film was made, who made the video or even the date of the video, but it was some amazing footage.  The photojournalists are simply artists, capturing colors, movement and sounds of the fall.

If you have watched the show, you know what I am talking about.  If you haven’t seen the show, here is a sample titled “Catskills” filmed in 2013.

Simply stunning.

This life lesson has stuck with me all of these years, and it will continue to be with me until I breath my last breath.  I will continue to show you this life lesson through my eyes with my camera and my blog.

[tweetthis]Beauty is all around us; you just need to slow down and see it.[/tweetthis]

I was so happy to see that NBC Kare 11 did a story about Dick Hanson in 2014.  I was thrilled to see that he was still involved in the Burnsville Football Program and influencing other young men’s lives.

Coach Hanson will be forever missed.

Thank you for the life lessons learned along the way, coach.

Learn. Do Grow.