Happy New Year: Coaches get your phones ready
The most important sporting development of the day is that I broke 100 for the fifth consecutive round.
That’s right, Nick Bontempo, Michael Wilhelm and the McDonalds, I’m coming for you.
Maybe not. But as those gents, aka Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain golf, hit the stretch drive of their season and with every other fall sport starting up Thursday or shortly after, I just want to outline how the Vail Daily will be covering high school sports, and how you can help.
Ready to go
First off, I’m psyched. It never fails to amuse me how I, who absolutely hated high school from 1986-1990, love covering succeeding generations of (in alphabetical order) Battle Mountain Huskies, Eagle Valley Devils, Vail Christian Saints and Vail Mountain Gore Rangers. (How has Bandoni not changed his school’s mascot to the Red Sox?)
We have some fun story lines emerging for the fall – Eagle Valley volleyball is ranked fourth in the state in 4A. Huskies boys cross country (and Amelia Ortiz) look ready for big year. Western Slope soccer should be as crazy as ever, as Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley meet two more times, likely with their destinies intertwined. Football is always awesome because it’s football, and there’s Week 10. Our golfers also look like they’re driving for state. Can I be an alternate?
And there are inevitably some stories we don’t know about yet. Did anyone, with the exception of Saints coach Cathy Alexander, and First Fan, Charlie, see Vail Christian volleyball bursting onto the scene like did last year? How about VMS volleyball at districts once everyone got healthy?. Heck, 10 years ago, VMS soccer, fresh off a sub-.500 season, made the state semifinals. The Gore Rangers best scoring threat was some guy named Slade. I forget ghis last name.
Somebody’s going to come out of the woodwork, and make a fantastic story.
That’s what’s great about my life, and my five sub-100 golf rounds in a row, if I haven’t mentioned that already. Seriously, I just love this about my job. This is Year No. 14 for me, and I’m psyched.
OK, we made great strides here last year, but there’s still work to be done. To ye denizens west of Wolcott, I did not attend Battle Mountain High School. I do not work for Battle Mountain High School. I do not get paid by Battle Mountain High School. I do not root for Battle Mountain – against Eagle Valley.
When I joined the Vail Daily in 1997, the paper had three people in sports – halcyon days. My job description was to cover Battle Mountain and “a private school in Vail that has a good soccer team.” (A reminder, at that point VMS, the school in question, was just starting volleyball, and Vail Christian didn’t have sports teams yet.)
As such, Sam Flickinger covered Eagle Valley and I covered Battle Mountain and a bit of VMS. But since I’ve been here for forever pretty much, and several other reporters have covered Eagle Valley until last year (budget cuts), I am identified with Battle Mountain.
For the record, I went to University High School in San Francisco – our mascot was the Red Devil – and the teams I truly root for in life are the San Francisco Giants, the San Francisco 49ers and the San Jose Sharks.
From a practical standpoint, I want all of our local teams to win. Coaches are always in better mood to chat after a win. Better story lines emerge, and you readers all seem to think I’m doing a better job when your favorite teams win.
And when we get to the rivalry games – Devils-Huskies or Gore Rangers-Saints – my hope is that they’re good games with significance beyond local bragging rights. Sure, it’s nice that the Battle Mountain-Eagle Valley football game is in the final week of the season, and it’s huge for both teams and schools, but wouldn’t it be even better if a playoff berth or league title were on the line?
Stop with all the phone calls and e-mails complaining about the my alleged Battle Mountain bias.
Pick up the phone
However, the best way to make sure that your team gets in the paper is to make sure coaches call in. We will do everything possible to be at as many games as we can – Randy Wyrick is joining us for the preps season to help up us expand our coverage.
That said, the schedule with four schools having multiple teams playing at once doesn’t make it possible. Every varsity coach at every school has my cell number. Call me with results in hand.
We do have sister papers in Glenwood Springs and Summit County, which help us cover our local teams when they’re in those areas. We also work with the Steamboat Pilot and the Craig Daily Press to do the same up north. Often times, we pick up their articles and run them. But said papers have the same conflicts we do wit their coverage. So, when in doubt, call in the result.
And if you’re a parent and want to help out, we welcome it. I know there are a lot of you at games with digital cameras. The answer to your question is absolutely. If you’ve got photos, send them to us. Even if we have a photographer at the game from which you are sending, I will save the photos and use them for later stories. My e-mail is email@example.com. Fire away.
And coaches, please, please call.
Best to all this fall.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.