Hesby surprises grandmother with halftime birthday celebration

Jacob Shames
Crookston Times
Jacob Hesby presented his grandmother, Sandy Morgan, with flowers, wishing her a happy birthday at halftime of the Crookston-Hawley boys' basketball game Monday night.

Sandy Morgan generally knows what to expect from her grandson, Jacob Hesby, who's a junior on the Crookston boys' basketball team. She knows Hesby as a kid who loves his sport and works hard at it.

But she had no idea what Hesby was planning for Monday night's game between Crookston and Hawley.

After the first-half buzzer sounded, the Pirates all ran off the court and towards their locker room. Except for one. Hesby picked up a bouquet of yellow flowers, ran across the court, and delivered the flowers into the arms of his astonished grandmother with a hug, all while PA announcer Jason Klinnert announced to the crowd that Hesby was wishing Morgan a a happy birthday.

"This was a surprise," Morgan said with a laugh minutes later.

It was Hesby's mother who had the idea for the surprise birthday wish, but Hesby went along with it enthusiastically.

After all, he remembers when he was younger, how Morgan would babysit him every day after school. Now, every time Hesby makes a play on the court, he knows he can look up to the stands and see his grandmother cheering for him, no matter if the play was good or bad.

Morgan, who turned 72 on Tuesday, goes to all of the Pirates' home games to cheer on her grandson. For road games, she always listens on the radio. Even in the time of COVID-19, none of that has changed.

"She really cares about me and wants to see me succeed," Hesby said. "She's a really loving grandma."

Since Hesby had to be at the game, his mother picked out the flowers and brought them to the CHS gym. Then, the flowers went in Hesby's locker until right before halftime, when his little brother, Josh, took them out and brought them to the bench for Hesby to deliver.

Hesby didn't think Morgan was expecting any of it, and he was right.

"But I'm really happy to give her an experience like that," he said.

Before Monday, the last time Hesby could interact in-person with his grandmother was on Valentine's Day, when Morgan came to his door to give him a present.

Things are looking up for the family, though. Morgan recently received her second COVID vaccination, so grandson and grandmother will soon be able to spend time with each other once again. In a more expected manner, of course.

That being said, the pandemic hasn't been able to stop Morgan's commitment to her grandson anyway. And on Monday night, Hesby was able to reward that dedication with some of his own.

The Times welcomes your feedback. You can send any comments or questions to our office at (218) 281-2730 or sports editor Jacob Shames at jshames@crookstontimes.com.

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"This was a surprise," Sandy Morgan said of the halftime celebration.