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Anderson "the" example of Perham Pride

Like many people around the area, I missed a majority of my initial weekend plans keeping an eye peeled on the saga that was Gabriele Anderson's weekend in Eugene, Ore., at the Olympic Trials.

Gabe's story from representing Perham as the 2004 state 800-meter champion and four years of all-state performances, to success at the University of Minnesota, out-running cancer twice and just missing a trip to the London Olympics by a matter of seconds is possibly the town's most apt representation of Perham Pride.

The bumper stickers are everywhere, but what does it really mean?

The manner in which Anderson conducted herself during a Saturday that was nerve-racking for living room viewers was a testament to what I believe Perham Pride means.

It is about something simple, yet not always easy.

Performing well, expecting success and handling one's self, at all times, with dignity and class.

That is what Miss Anderson represented Perham with the most this past weekend.


It is quite possible those viewing her accomplishments were more disappointed than Anderson was with the outcome.

High hopes are far easier to deflate from a distance. When one is in the middle of the fray, perspective is front and center and the line between winning and losing is much wider.

The local Twittersphere blew up upon the announcement of Anderson's initial disqualification and continued to ebb until it was announced she was reinstated.

Users posted reactions from outrage to support to relief over the course of the afternoon and evening.

Payton Jordahl said it best with his post, "It's amazing how a small-town can come together."

He is correct. It is amazing. The hashtag #reinstategabe said it all.

Next time you see a Perham Pride bumper sticker, and you will every time you drive around the area, the following words of Anderson are what should come to mind first.

"It's just an honor to compete. You know, they had to beat me to make the team - so that's still a big deal. It's a pleasure to be part of U.S. distance running right now. I'll be back!"

Anderson's performance was epic.

Given the situation, her words were elegant.

Perham has a lot of reasons to feel proud, but Gabe brought to light a new level of appreciation with the most simple of actions at a level of intensity that few could know.

She was a superstar on one of the biggest stages in the world and she will be back.

Anderson is the pride of Perham.

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

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