Knights show their support
By CONOR NICHOLL
BELOIT - Last Friday, a friend talked to Victoria High School junior running back Bryan Dome about shaving their heads to honor Coach Doug Oberle's mother, Pauline, and Victoria Utilities Clerk Maria Goetz. Pauline and Goetz both have cancer.
On Friday night, the Knights had a football team dinner to prepare for Saturday's Eight-Man Division II second round playoff contest at Beloit/St. John's-Tipton. Virtually all of the team and coaching staff had their heads shaved, a surprise for Oberle.
"He is just like our dad," Dome said of Oberle. "We have been with him since December working with him in the weight room and everything, so we just treat him like our second dad."
After Victoria completed a 10-1 season with a 22-16 loss to St. John's-Tipton, Oberle stood in one end zone by himself for several minutes. When Oberle was asked about the moment, he turned his head quickly. When he turned back, Oberle's eyes welled with tears. For nearly 30 seconds, Oberle couldn't find words.
"It's been a tough year for me personally, but these guys have done a great job all year of surprising me," he said. "They are a good group of kids. I didn't know they were going to do that."
Oberle, 72-19 in eight years as the Knights' head coach, then started to tear again.
"They have been great to my family all year," he said. "I don't want to take away from these guys. These guys had a great year. The whole community has done a great job of being there for me and my family. Treated us very well, and I am very grateful and thankful for the community, and the support that they have showed."
The close-knit community has long supported the sports teams and citizens. According to a March 18, 2013 City of Victoria minutes meeting, the town helped out Goetz.
"After a suggestion from City Superintendent Julius Windholz, consensus of council was to let city employees give Utilities Clerk Maria Goetz some of their accrued sick time," the minutes said.
Pauline Oberle had been in remission for five months, but it came back in midseason. She and her husband, Jim, traveled to Beloit for the game. Pauline is back in chemo now and is expected to see the doctor this week.
"Doesn't bother me at all," she said of traveling. "I am one of the lucky ones. I get tired for a week, and then I am OK. I haven't been sick with it, so that's OK. We don't know about the next round of stuff. We will see what that goes, but they recommend that I do a different treatment, so that it doesn't keep coming back."