The ‘Box of Fun’, North Linn’s secret weapon en rout to second state championship

Published: Jul. 24, 2021 at 9:28 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - After losing in the championship game in 2020, many thought North Linn’s run might be over as five seniors, that were crucial to their success, graduated from the team.

“We lost a lot of seniors last year and we knew it was a new team so we try not to put a lot of pressure on ourselves and just to come out and have fun because we play better and we just have a lot of fun,” said sophomore Ellie Flanagan.

“We came in the season, no one was expecting us to do this,” said senior Olivia Rauch. “It was so fun proving everybody wrong and it’s just a great feeling and I’m so happy for everybody,”

Not only was there a large turnover of key players, but the Lynx also had to find a new coach as Marv Porter retired, allowing first year coach Chad Spore to step into the role.

“I just didn’t want to screw it up for these girls I knew how good they were,” Spore said. “I knew they were such a talented squad. A lot of people didn’t know, just because they were buried on the quote depth chart a little bit,”

Alongside the usual great pitching and powerful hitting one sees while watching the Lynx, something else was always apparent. The team, regardless of the situation, was always having fun using props that came about early in the season.

“It was just Ellie Flanagan saying I want to bring my sunglasses in one day and then from there, alright and I said hey I’m gonna throw a few bucks into this thing,” Spore explained.

What started as sunglasses morphed into what the team called a “box of fun”. Funny hats, microphones, and floaties all included. All of which making appearances in Fort Dodge which helped settle the nerves that come with playing on the big stage.

“What’s better than something that’s going to take all their nerves away right?” Spore said. “All the other teams look at them like, oh my god look at them jumping around and we’re nervous. It was the perfect setup.”

From doing the cotton-eyed joe before the game, dancing and running around during the game, the Lynx had no trouble keeping high energy as every player, even on the bench, was engaged all game long. Thus taking pressure off the team in a tight 0-0 game, allowing them to break through when it mattered most.

“Those younger classmen, they really just keep going,” said freshman Skylar Benesh. “They’re always relaxed and they’re always loud in the dugout, they keep everybody calm.”

For a team that loses only four seniors, the Lynx are ready to keep their success and the party going for a bit longer.

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