Letter: In support of Mountain Recreation
Providing mountain kids with the opportunity to be their best in athletic arenas is crucial to self-confidence, team awareness and the joy of sport. This starts with access to the activities, and Mountain Recreation has been there for so many of us, providing local kids the opportunities they might not get from higher-priced sport clubs. A publicly funded organization like this brings together our priorities for keeping kids outdoors and allows parents the opportunity to watch and enjoy their children as they run around local sport fields.
In 2014, we signed up our 9-year-old son Owen for his first lacrosse team through Mountain Rec, then called WECMRD. As parents, we had no idea how to play the sport, hold the stick, or even what to cheer for from the sidelines. We also didn’t know if this would be a one season experience or maybe something longer. We were glad that our modest registration fee included all the gear. Sheryl met us in the back of the Eagle Ice Rink and helped us find a helmet, shoulder pads, matching gloves and elbow pads, each piled up in different rubbermaid trash cans. That was the beginning of an extraordinary journey for our family and so many other lacrosse families.
We were very fortunate to have Mike Miner as our first coach, and he made everything awesome. Ground balls? Awesome. Throwing and catching? Awesome. Water break? Awesome. Rain storm? Still awesome. As the kids progressed from Mountain Rec to Vail Valley Lacross Club and eventually high school competitions, it was clear why lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in America. The kids can’t get enough of it. This spring, as Eagle Valley High School, Battle Mountain and Vail Mountain School moved to the top of the 4A Western Slope rankings, we started to see the incredible impact of the sport on our valley. Our kids had put in a ton of dedication — to themselves and their teammates — and the results were clear. Our local kids even won a few state tournament games! Learning to perform under pressure is a terrific gift and lacrosse has provided that opportunity to our kids.
All of this started with Mountain Rec and the commitment to accessibility of sport for younger kids. That is where this journey started and we are grateful to have been a part of that.
We are just one story.
As Mountain Rec considers asking voters for permission to upgrade facilities (Eagle, Edwards and Gypsum), programming and services this November, I hope readers will support these investments as they develop confidence, teamwork and joy for local kids, families, adults and seniors.