Minot High senior Dylan Vigested honoring memory of late father
In the 1993 movie “The Sandlot,” New York Yankees slugger Babe Ruth speaks to protagonist Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez in a poignant scene.
Before Ruth vanishes, he leaves Rodriguez with one final message.
“Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.”
Although Scott Vigested lost his battle with cancer at the age of 44, his legend lives on.
Scott’s only child, Dylan, has started the second semester of his senior year at Minot High School. Dylan finished his final football campaign in the fall and is preparing for the upcoming baseball season.
Before tearing his meniscus in December, Dylan participated in a sport he had never tried but always admired — wrestling. When he stepped on the mat, he made his father proud.
“If it’s a sport, it was, ‘Yep, let’s do it,'” Dylan said. “And doing your best at it. He loved any sport. If I said that I was going to go play cricket, he would have said, ‘Hey, let’s see it.'”
Tonight, Bismarck High and Minot High wrestling will square off in a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup at 7 p.m. in Minot. Although the match carries great significance across the state, another facet hits closer to home.
Each year, the Magicians designate one match as a fundraiser for local families who have endured cancer. This year, proceeds will be donated to the Vigested family.
“In past years, we’ve done it for people we didn’t know,” Minot wrestling head coach Justin Racine said. “Whenever it’s someone who is in your immediate community as far as the wrestling team, it makes it a little bit more special.”
Although Dylan gained a healthy dose of respect for his fellow wrestlers, he will always be attached to baseball. When he thinks about his father, those summer days on the diamond immediately come to mind.
“Since I was old enough to stand, we were always outside playing catch or outside practicing hitting,” Dylan said. “He was just a big role model. All of my success, I dedicate to him. He taught me all the way through everything.”
Scott served as Dylan’s baseball coach during the early stages of his development. Dylan’s mother, Stacy, fondly recalls her memories of the numerous father-son bonding moments.
“Scott basically gave up his life when Dylan was born,” Stacy said. “Everything was Dylan. If Scott ended up going golfing, Dylan tagged with. Anywhere Scott went, he drove Dylan along with him. They were going together. Inseparable.”
Scott’s friends became family. He welcomed Dylan’s friends into his home, helped coach them and treated them as extended family members.
From the beginning, Scott’s younger brother Kevin idolized his ability to connect with people. Scott showed his competitive side when Kevin challenged him to some hoops, and the brothers enjoyed many battles in their mother’s old dirt garden.
“He’d finally get tired of me begging to play basketball,” Kevin said. “We would go play one-on-one. I’d get the ball, dribble around and would throw up a shot. I’d make one out of three or something. He’d get the ball, and he was 50 pounds heavier than I was. He would just dribble as fast and as hard as he could to the basket. I would stand there and take a charge.”
Kevin recalled the outcomes with a hearty chuckle.
“I’d win the game, but I’d end up with bruises,” he said. “He would just laugh every time he would run me over. I don’t know if it taught me toughness or what.”
Although Kevin and Scott kept their bond alive, a young Dylan yearned for a brother. While raising Dylan, Scott built a brotherly bond with his only son.
“There was never a time where I would say, ‘I want to go play catch,’ and he would say, ‘Nah, I’m not feeling it,'” Dylan said. “It was always, ‘Hey, let’s go play catch,’ and it would be ‘Yep!’ right away. Or he would be the one asking, ‘Let’s go play catch, let’s work on your pitching. Let’s do all this.’ He was basically a brother. A lot of people call me spoiled, but he did everything I asked.”
“That’s called spoiled,” Stacy interjected with a laugh.
Even still, Scott always offered detailed critiques of his son’s performances.
“I couldn’t tell you a game that my father missed,” Dylan said. “We kind of got into a routine after the game. It didn’t matter. I could have went 3-for-3 with three doubles and six RBIs, but he’d say, ‘Yeah, great job. But what about this error? What about this?’ He was just big on trying to get better and coaching me up. That was with every sport, but he just knew baseball a lot more.”
Scott’s knowledge of the game stemmed from his time as a Sawyer baseball standout. According to Kevin, Scott’s talents as a pitcher and shortstop were instrumental in Sawyer’s success.
“There wasn’t much of a pitch count back in the day,” Kevin said. “When we were playing a good team and he was pitching, there was a good chance he wasn’t coming out of that game.”
Dylan pitches, catches and spends some time at the hot corner. Recently, Dylan and some friends found an old photograph of Scott on the mound.
His resemblance to Dylan’s motion was uncanny.
“You could put it back to a picture of him pitching about 30 years ago to me pitching about 10 years ago,” he said. “It would have been identical. Just the same movements. You could tell that it was basically him.”
As his health declined, Scott maintained his optimistic attitude. He cheered for the Minnesota Twins and kept his Sunday tradition of watching the Minnesota Vikings.
Friends and family members often brought food to the Vigested household.
“Even as sick as he was, he always put on the happiest face,” Stacy said. “Most people didn’t even know he was sick. He was always trying to make sure that everyone felt comfortable and was having a good time.”
Before the Minot High boys basketball team faced Bismarck High last Friday, fans honored Scott’s memory with a moment of silence.
“You could hear a pin drop,” Stacy said. “There was not a child, not a cough. I mean, how often does that ever happen?”
The Minot community will continue to commemorate Scott. The Moose Lodge will host a celebration of his life at 5 p.m. on Saturday.
“I don’t want him to ever be forgotten,” Dylan said. “I want to be telling stories 40 years from now with my friends. We’re telling stories about how he did this or that. I just want everyone to see him as the friendly guy who did stuff for people. He wanted a better community and wanted the best out of everyone.”
Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.
Jimmy Lafakis covers Minot High School sports and Class B high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @JJLII30.