Dan Whenesota’s untold stories of MN sports

Former NDSU student shares his discusses his books A History of Heartbreak and A Slapshot in Time

Minnesotans are no strangers to loss. Year after year they’re let down by their favorite teams and players whether it’s the Vikings, the Twins, or the Wild. Compare this with the legendary Bison who took home the FCS championship last year and continue to excite their fans; it’s a bit of a culture shock. Dan Gaisbauer, who goes by the pen name Dan Whenesota, is an NDSU graduate who’s originally from Irving Heights MN; he chronicled the disappointment of many Minnesotans in his two books A History of Heartbreak and A Slapshot in Time. The Spectrum recently had the opportunity to talk with Whenesota about his books and experience. 

Whenesota notes his post-secondary experience at NDSU as a positive one, being involved in Student Government, the fraternity Sigma Kai and the Spectrum among others. He cherishes the many connections made here and continues to keep in touch with them, reminiscing the shared time together.

“Hanging out on the weekends with friends, flag football- It was a great time out there, I loved it.” He provides a cautionary tale to current students with many connections. “If you’re late to class don’t go through the union ’cause you’re going to stop and talk to fifteen-twenty people.”

Whenesota’s motivation for writing a SlapShot in Time came from good ‘ol fashioned competitiveness. After the Clevelands film documentary about their worst trades of all time and other sports disappointments, Whenesota wanted to one-up their claims. He ended up creating a blog/documentary that turned into a book. His first book came to him naturally.

Whenesota’s first book, titled A History of Heartbreak, chronicles all the bad things that happened in Minnesota sports, originally coming from a ‘this day in history disappointment calendar’. The Herschel Walker trade, the Lakers move to LA, the end of the North Stars Hockey, and ninety-seven more tragedies are told in his novel.

The book harkens to MN Sports aficionados from across the state as the events have affected all fans.

“Growing up in Minnesota the Twins stunk, the Vikings stunk, everyone was just terrible,” Whenesota said.

Furthermore, having to go back and write about these tragedies pained him. Whenesota notes the unique dichotomy of being both a Minnesota sports fan and an NDSU sports fan. As he explains it:

“Saturdays are when we win and Sundays are when we lose.”

Pictured above is Whenesota’s second book.
Photo Courtesy | Dan Whenesota

A Slapshot in Time is Whenesota’s second book which ‘chronicles’ the St. Paul Fighting Saints hockey team and their story. This story was inspired by a documentary about the California Golden Seals, and Whenesota made his own documentary about the Minnesota North Stars. 

While composing the film, along the way he talked about the St. Paul Fighting Saints and thus, his second novel A Slapshot in Time was born. The league developed to compete directly with the NHL and try to steal their players.

“It was The Wild West of Hockey,” Whenesota said.

The book is a true story about all the crazy things that happened to the team and their players.

Continual support even after such heartbreaking losses and tragedies is rare for any team. But the fact that Minnesota fans continue to show Vikings pride or Twins spirit alludes to the supportive nature of the people. Whenesota notes that watching a game as a Vikings fan and as a Bison fan is strange.

“It is ingrained in us… at an NDSU homecoming game we were down by fourteen points in the fourth quarter yet nobody leaves because we know we’re gonna come back. In Minnesota, everyone’s gone,” said Whenesota.

As they say, the two things that bring people together are tragedy and triumph. 

Although he has two books and a film documentary already out, a third book is not entirely out of the question. However, he states it would take some unique, untold story about sports for him to write another book, citing time crunches and the little money for his hesitancy. 

“It takes a long time to write a book and you don’t earn a lot of money; it would have to be a unique story,” Whenesota said.

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