Bouncing Back from Tragedy: How the Park Christian Basketball Team is Building the Season

It’s been 148 days since the rollover crash that killed Park Christian brothers Zach and Connor Kvalvog.

Both boys were known for their basketball prowess, but now with the season set to start, the Falcons must do so without two of their most important players.

Both Zach and Connor Kvalvog are tremendous athletes, but if you ask the Park Christian community, they’ll tell you that basketball for the boys was a step above.

And while they may not be there physically, the show at Park is going on.

The start of winter sports means one thing at Park Christian.

It’s basketball season.

“We’ve got lots of talent and i think a real desire to get better. We got some players that, they just play hard, they fill their role. And we’ve got skill set, too,” says Reed Roisum, Falcons Assistant Coach.

The Park Christian Falcons Boys Basketball team is doing nothing differently than its ever done to prepare for a season.

But this season?

“This season is different than any other the school’s ever seen.”

“Thanks for joining us. The Park Christian school community is in mourning after two students died in a rollover this morning on I–94 near Fergus Falls…”

It’s been 148 days since the rollover crash that killed brothers Zach and Connor Kvalvog, two Park students known for their big smiles, gentle hearts.

And slick moves on the basketball court.

“Zach, just in the smile that he had on his face was ‘game, bring it on I’m ready for any challenge that was before me’. And he was gonna compete to the best that he could,” says Park Christian Principal Chris Nellermoe.

But the Falcons now face a much different reality.

“Yeah, you know we thought we’d have Zach here, we thought we’d have Connor here, we thought we’d have Mark here, we just you know…that just kind of rocked our world. But you know we’re excited for what we have this year regardless, and we’re excited for the season we could potentially have,” says Park Christian Senior Seth Heinen.

What Park has is a group of kids that have experienced far more tragedy than any group of 14–18-year-olds ever should.

“Thinking about it, pretty much since the summer has just been realizing, now we have to play without him, so…it’s difficult to imagine, what the season can be like,” says Park Christian Senior Jordan Kerr.

What the season’s like will be determined in the upcoming weeks.

How Park has approached the season however, that…is already set in stone.

“We honor him by playing our hearts out, that’s the way he always did it, and that’s what we can do for him right now, as he’s looking down at us from above,” says Kerr.

And the way the Falcons bounce back from this tragedy?

Much like on the court, they use their teammates.

“If there’s gonna be one huge strength for this team this year, it’s gonna be that you can’t break us apart. That we have to lean on each other because of what’s happened. And you can’t break us, because we’re gonna lean on each other and we’re gonna be strong with each other,” says Heinen.

And they’re going to do it all, with one thing on their minds.

“Start of the season, that first night. If he’s there, what do you say to him?”

“I would probably tell him how much I miss him, not just because of the kind of basketball player he was, because I think how you play the game reflects on your character. And he was…a man of character,” says Coach Roisum.

Men of character…exactly what the Falcons will aim to be every time they take the court.

The Falcons open their season in just six short days against DGF, in what promises to be a very special night.

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