Game time: It’s Steamboat Day | VailDaily.com

Game time: It’s Steamboat Day

Sept. 18, 2007, was a big day for me.

A recovering alcoholic, that Tuesday was my one-year anniversary of sobriety. As my mom was, well, being my mom on the phone going on about getting to one year, I was thinking about two things.

First, it was a Tuesday. That’s important in many ways. It’s not one year of sobriety. It’s just Tuesday, not much different than the Monday that proceeded it, and hopefully, not much different than the upcoming Wednesday.

And as Mom was talking, I was also thinking it’s Steamboat Day. The Huskies beat the Sailors, 2-0.

Alcoholics and sports writers ” or in my case, both ” are characters of routine. The second Monday in August starts fall practice. Week 9 of football is Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley and it is always a big deal when Steamboat soccer comes to town in the fall or the spring.

Tuesday’s Huskies-Sailors game at 4 p.m. in Eagle-Vail is “The Biggest Game in the History of Everything” at least until Eagle Valley hosts Glenwood Springs Thursday in this crazy 4A Slope race.

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But Battle Mountain-Steamboat is special. In my 12 years here, the Huskies and Sailors have won eight of 11 league titles on the boys’ side and, well, all 11 come spring.

This is the rivalry where Huskies coach David Cope, having had his team thrashed, 5-0, by VMS in 1997, wished Bob Bandoni luck in beating the Sailors to keep the Huskies’ slim playoff hopes alive. (Yes, boys and girls, there was a time when Battle Mountain soccer and playoffs didn’t belong in the same sentence.)

This is the rivalry that established girls soccer as a sport on the Western Slope on April 23, 1998. (Seriously, no one took the sport very seriously then.) The Sailors and Huskies tied 1-1 (Jackie Pirog for Battle Mountain), as Steamboat went on to the state title against Palisade that year. (Yes, Palisade.)

This is the rivalry in which Battle Mountain flailed for years trying to beat Rob Bohlmann’s crew on both the boys’ and girls’ sides. For a while earlier this decade, Battle Mountain would always host the Sailors at then-Huskies Stadium. Ostensibly, Cope wanted to give his team a night game. He also wanted a thinner field to give his team a chance against the Sailors.

“Next year, we’re going to play them on a tennis court,” Cope said after a 3-0 loss in 2000. “It didn’t phase them at all. They played really well.”

This is the rivalry where Battle Mountain essentially beat Steamboat, 2-2, in 2002 ” Sean Reynolds with the cherished equalizer ” the last time they played under the lights in Eagle-Vail. Battle Mountain celebrated like it had won the World Cup. Steamboat looked like it had lost Rob Bohlmann’s puppy. As it turned out, the tie cost Bohlmann and company the league title to Glenwood.

This is the rivalry when I called Cope in the spring of 2006 and he picked up saying, “0-0 in overtime,” and then rightly hung up on me. This is Andy Banner and Tyler Cole going nuts and Lizzie Seibert swooping like an airplane after a goal.

In this context, I really don’t care that Battle Mountain has won eight of the last nine in this series. (By the way, how in the heck did a generation of Huskies high schoolers ever come to think that Steamboat was in the win column? I’m old. That’s how.)

This is why soccer on the Slope is so much fun and why Battle Mountain needs to bring its game Tuesday. Eagle Valley knocked off the Sailors Saturday and Steamboat can ill-afford to fall six points off the Devils’ pace.

Yes, Battle Mountain has a game in hand on the Devils and the tiebreaker ” for now ” with its downvalley rivals, but the Huskies have never been behind this late in the season during their title run of the last four years and can’t fall further back.

Oh yeah and don’t forget 2006, when this year’s Battle Mountain seniors were sophomores, the Sailors won here, 3-2, on a David Comeau goal in the 78th minute.

It’s Steamboat Day Tuesday.

Other news and notes:

– Hail Cesar, again: I don’t care how many goals Eagle Valley’s Cesar Castillo scores against Moffat County or Middle Park. Two against Steamboat Saturday in a 2-1 win is a much different story.

Bohlmann, as noted previously, did not fall off the turnip truck last week. He game-planned for Ces, and it still didn’t matter. The five goals Castillo has in wins against Golden and the Sailors as well as the first Battle Mountain game are why he is the best player in the league.

– He did it again: Saturday, I get a phone call from the Aspen Times’ Jon Maletz. He says, “1-0, VMS.” I respond, “Lemme guess, Tony Ryerson.” How does Tony do this every time against Aspen? (By the way, attaboy, Carder Lamb.) The Skiers really want to see Ryerson graduate.

And just when you wrote them off, here comes VMS.

– Volleyball update: We are counting down the days to the Eagle Valley-Battle Mountain rematch on Oct. 7 in Gypsum. Why not? The Devils and Huskies certainly are.

– And now for a football score: Cortez 56, Rifle 31. That’s not a misprint, kids.

– Now that we’ve got Battle Mountain’s attention, lighten up, David Joyce. As with all new football coaches in Eagle-Vail, you are understandably mystified by all the things that are befalling you. I warned you about that in this space when you got the job.

Glenwood came to town Friday and waxed your team. That was going to happen. Accept and move on. Good things are happening here, believe it or not, and ripping the team’s effort in the paper is not a good way to go about things. Now more than ever is the time to be positive and keep the faith.

– We repeat: Cortez 56, Rifle 31. Now that we have your attention in Gypsum, it’s time to go to work. Don’t be surprised to see the Devils end up at 5-5 after playing the NFL during the first half of the year.

– Devyils golfyer makyes statye: Congratulations to Bryan Brennan ” hence the extra Ys ” for making state golf. He was sitting on the bubble as the first alternate and got the call this weekend. Never has a human been so delighted ” and rightly so ” to be going to Craig.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.