A conversation with Paula Bachmeier
Paula Bachmeier is an assistant coach for the Des Lacs-Burlington volleyball team. In addition to coaching, Bachmeier serves as a public address announcer at high school sporting events.
Recently, the Minot Daily News spoke to Bachmeier about coaching, announcing and the DLB community. Some responses are edited for brevity and clarity.
MDN: What does being a Laker mean to you?
PB: It means being a part of a community. A community full of people who care for each other, work together, support each other and support each other’s kids.
MDN: Why do you think the DLB community is special?
PB: Because of the people, the camaraderie we share, the truly caring about each other that exists. When our son was diagnosed with leukemia years ago, we were humbled by the outpouring of support we received from the folks in both towns. It truly showed us what the saying “Laker pride two cities wide” means.
MDN: What has coaching taught you over the years?
PB: Coaching and being with the kids is truly my passion. I have learned that all kids are different. They have different personalities, needs and emotions. There is no set way to understand each individual student-athlete. And girls, of course, come with different needs. I raised two boys, both athletes, and their reactions to how coaches treated them were totally different from what I see with girls. I get accused of having my blinders on when I talk about our athletes, but I truly believe that all kids are good kids and that you need to treat them with honesty and teach them about life – more than just about the game.
MDN: Why is volleyball important to you?
PB: I just love the sport. I played 100 years ago in college. My husband and I played a ton when we were younger. We were blessed to play with someone from the Air Force who was a back-up setter for the Olympics – her high school and college coach was Bill Neville, the men’s Olympic coach. She taught us so much about the sport and I just loved to play and now coach. We were able to attend the game where the U.S. men’s national volleyball team played Cuba in Minneapolis during the Olympic boycott in the 1980s. We were able to sit right behind the team, and it was just so special.
MDN: Any favorite games along the way?
PB: There have been many. The battles with Our Redeemer’s always come to the forefront. One particular regional championship years ago – before there was rally scoring and you only scored on the serve – was played against Bishop Ryan. (Funny note: one of the Bishop Ryan hitters has been my daughter-in-law for over 20 years now.) We were the definite underdogs. The match lasted four hours and we won in five sets. It was just so exciting. The 1991 state championship match against Beulah lasted nearly three hours and it was another favorite.
MDN: How did you get involved as a public address announcer at games?
PB: It’s a joke I always say. “I’ll take the mic, I have a big mouth.”
I was asked to fill in at some of our high school games for basketball when the regular announcer wasn’t able to. Alton Nygaard, the tournament manager of literally hundreds of tournaments, used to be the principal at DLB. He knew I did the announcing at our home games and asked if I would do the volleyball districts and regionals so it just took off from there.
MDN: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies?
PB: Being with my grandchildren means everything to me. We have three in Burlington and four in White Bear Lake, Minn. They all participate in sports. I try to spend absolutely as much time as I can with them. Going to games is my hobby. I go to all the games I can, home and away. I love cheering for the kids, the time spent with friends at the game, just being at the events.
Being with kids is my hobby, too. I have been on the Board of the Burlington Recreation Commission since 1981. I have taught confirmation at our St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Foxholm since 1993. I just love doing things with kids.
MDN: How do you want to be remembered at DLB?
PB: I want people to remember how much I loved being a Laker – that I cared for their kids and our community. My mantra for my life is, “If I die today, did I do the right thing?” Everything I try to do every day is the right thing for my family, my friends, my community and my student-athletes.
Jimmy Lafakis covers Minot High School sports and Class B high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @JJLII30.