FARGO — When the final cards are distributed and the bingo game begins at RiverPointe Senior Living in Moorhead, there’s no question at least one resident has his game face on. Louie Gruenberg likes to win.
“Very competitive,” said Angie Lance, his granddaughter. "Runs in the family."
This week, the talk of the assisted living facility has been more than just B5. It’s been about the kid with the logo T5, a graphic North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance put on his social media announcement in declaring for the NFL Draft.
He wears jersey No. 5.
His No. 1 fan at RiverPointe couldn’t be prouder. Gruenberg is Trey’s great grandfather.
“I thought it was great, it’s the best thing for him to do,” Louie said. “(An NFL) kid in the family, never thought of it, never dreamt of it. That’s pretty good to have an NFL player make it my lifetime. I hope I can see him play a game.”
Lance still has work to do before he makes the NFL, like off-season workouts and the NFL Combine. But he’s projected to be a first round pick.
It was another in a line of good news for Louie, so important these days with the COVID-19 pandemic preventing anyone from visiting senior living facilities. He says it gets boring at times, especially when the activities like bingo and black jack get shut down.
He’s 99 years old, in decent shape and a great frame of mind.
“It’s very difficult for everyone in that situation in assisted living homes and nursing homes,” said Angie, Trey’s mother. “I know it gets very lonely. I know he really enjoyed following the Bison this fall, even if it was limited. It was something to look forward to.”
Last fall, he looked forward to getting a visit from Trey. When Lance verbally committed to NDSU while still a senior in Marshall, Minn., the anticipation began building even back then.
“That was something exciting for my grandpa, just the fact he would be in town and be a Bison,” Angie said. “He talked to all his Bison-loving friends, his great grandson is playing for the Bison. Just having him there was exciting enough but to have him be successful was just sort of icing on the cake.”
The family brought Louie to the spring showcase that wrapped up spring football in the fall of 2019. It was his first trip to Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome.
Trey has been the talk of his church at Faith Lutheran in Wolverton, Minn. Louie farmed near there. It was a lifetime occupation, one that prevented him from having the time to play sports as a kid.
Angie’s parents, Pat and Gail Irsfeld, went to high school in Breckenridge, Minn.
So there’s plenty of Red River Valley support for a player nobody predicted would develop into a possible first round draft choice, much less this early.
“All my neighbors at RiverPointe and everybody at my church thinks the world of him,” Louie said. “They keep talking about him all the time. Yep, he’s quite a kid. He’s very religious and I like that.”
Come next April, he’ll most likely like the NFL Draft even more. The hope is life will be back to normal at RiverPointe, and that includes bingo and black jack.
“There’s been so much bad news, you really have to search for the positives,” Angie said. “COVID has had an impact on everybody in the country in some devastating ways. In some ways, it’s like my grandpa has been locked in his apartment. What he needs is something exciting, something to look forward to.”
Look no farther than T5.