Daily Editorial: Happy birthday, Rich | VailDaily.com

Daily Editorial: Happy birthday, Rich

Vail Daily Editorial Board
Vail CO, Colorado

Many happy returns to Rich Houghton, the athletic director at Battle Mountain High School. Not only is he turning 29th for the umpteenth time today, but the Huskies’ athletic program is off probation for unsportsman-like behavior today.

Battle Mountain’s sports teams have been on double-secret probation since last year’s volleyball state tournament, the occasion of the last and most major of the three sins the school itself supposedly committed.

We’ll start with the two silly transgressions the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) cited in originally threatening to bar Huskies’ teams from participating in the postseason during the last year.

The school allegedly created a menacing environment in which basketball referees had to work during the 2005-06 season. In layman’s terms, Battle Mountain actually had a good boys’ basketball team, which won the school’s first league title. So shocked was the community that fans actually awoke from their traditional winter slumber to cheer the team and occasionally heckle the refs, something we’re sure never happens anywhere else in the state.

There was also the matter of radio microphones being too close to assistant football coaches on Friday nights during that same academic year. In some older press boxes on the Western Slope, coaches calling plays and radio teams are often in the same room, and thus a few things that should have been bleeped made their way onto the air.

The big problem came when Battle Mountain alumni were caught drinking at the state volleyball tournament last year while cheering on their alma mater. We certainly don’t think alcohol and high school sports mix nor do we condone any underage drinking that may have occurred.

Yet what was Battle Mountain’s administration meant to do about it? The state tournament is at the Denver Coliseum, a building which is under the purview of that city, not the high school. It’s the city’s or CHSAA’s job to inspect bags for inappropriate items, especially in a post-Sept. 11 world. By the way, Vail Daily staff members attended both days of this year’s tournament last weekend and none were searched.

Further, what authority does Houghton or any other Battle Mountain administrator have over the alumni? If the drinkers had been high school students, that’s another matter.

The net result is that Houghton, Principal Brian Hester and others have spent their otherwise valuable time during the last year tamping down anything that might be construed as unsportsmanlike, terrible things like booing.

Houghton and company are teachers first, whatever their title. They have much more important things to do than have their time wasted by an over-reaction by CHSAA.

” Chris Freud for the Editorial Board

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