I absolutely love the letter to the editor that my classmate, Pamela Hovland wrote on “The many and diverse ‘athletes’ of Pelican Rapids!” (Sept. 30 edition, Pelican Rapids Press)

 It brought me right back to the lessons I learned through sports at PRHS and how they have continued to bring me health, strength and joy in life!

 Interestingly, I claimed and embraced my identity as “athlete” after my car accident, even though the game had changed. Lessons learned and directly applied to my life before and after my spinal cord injury include the benefits of hard work, perseverance, goalsetting, and time management. For me, incorporating exercise and movement into my schedule wasn’t just a “hit and miss” proposition. It became “a way of life,” as it was critical to regaining and maintaining my independence.

 I like how Pamela brought out the social aspect of exercise. It reminded me of my first experience with competitive sports in the wheelchair with quad rugby, over 10 years after the accident. Also known as Murderball, I played for the North Dakota “WallBangers.” I was the only woman on the team and probably the last one off the bench. But it was such a thrill to be out in sports again, making new friends in a fun environment, doing the best I could with the strength I had.

 Find a mode of movement or sport that works for you. Be flexible. Adapt. Give yourself credit and praise for even 15 minutes of action! Don’t let fear sideline you. Do what you can do. It’s not about being the best, but about being your best.

 I am proud and encouraged by the opportunities provided in my hometown for all residents to be active in many settings. 

Outdoor activities, open gym, a fitness center, city parks, a swimming pool, organized sports, and a potential walking trail to Maplewood State Park all contribute to the vibrant culture of Pelican Rapids where the athlete in each of us can shine!  

Forever grateful,

Judy Siegle Aamodt


Editor’s note: The guest column published Sept. 30, written by Pelican native Pamela Hovland, drew response from near and far—including Judy’s letter, published here. 

A nutshell summary: Pelican’s diverse recreational opportunities make the community “marketable” as a health-fitness hub. 

With the swimming pool project, the Pelican to Maplewood trail, the “Local Foods, Local Places” initiative, pickle ball courts, community access to Pelican school facilities (post-COVID) and water recreation all around us—Pelican is in a unique position to host “athletes” of all ages and abilities. 

And this recreation emphasis also presents unique business opportunities. Kayaking is already available in Pelican; and bicycle rental could be on the horizon.