Vail Valley sports: Basking in the glow
VAIL VALLEY, Colorado –Thank you, o deity of your choosing for gracing Colorado’s Vail Valley.
Pretty much two years to the day, Battle Mountain football got back into the win column Friday, and yes, I am thrilled. My football career has not exactly been a distinguished one as a journalist.
Pomona-Pitzer and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, the two football teams I covered during part I of college, went 11-61-1 in the four years I was there. The good news is that we can now make that 13–59-1 because one of the teams they played had to forfeit its wins after the fact. The bad news is that four of the actual 11 wins I covered were Pomona-Pitzer and Claremont beating each other.
Then I went to San Francisco State, and the school promptly dropped football. Then I got a nice job at the Vail Daily, covering Battle Mountain football in 1997. (In retrospect, the 5-5 Huskies of 1997 were pretty darn good.)
Once can start to take this personally.
Here it is, folks. I root for the home team, excpet when we have, say, Vail Mountain at Vail Christian volleyball, like we do tonight, or yes, Week 9 of the football season (Wonder who’s playing that week?)
When you cover a team for 12-plus seasons, you do develop a fondness for the players, the parents and even the numerous coaches involved. You can’t be human and not. The key is not to let it into your writing of the game stories. This is a column.
So, yee-haw! The Huskies are on the board. It was absolutely fantastic to see them win. Those guys deserved that so much, as do their counterparts down in Gypsum. (More on the Devils later.)
This has been ugly for so long. Honestly, there hasn’t been a dreadful thing in football that I haven’t seen Battle Mountain do in person in the last 12-plus years. So when the moment comes, you savor it.
I wish these moments for the Devils, Giore Rangers, Huskies and Saints alike.
This week’s shopping list:
• Yes, defensive coordinator Jeff Krumlauf did gently hit me over the head with a clipboard after last week’s column, and a serious shout-out to Battle Mountain football’s defense. The Black Shirts got to Highland’s quarterback, forced turnovers and wrapped up. Very well done. We hope some helmet stickers are being handed out.
• Worst high-five ever: Coach Krum and I after Battle Mountain’s first touchdown.
• Have either Parke Robbins or Chris Libertini stopped running yet? Just curious.
• By the way, Cody Hervert says that Robbins missed the snap on the team’s historic first missed PAT at the new field. Pistols at dawn, gents?
• Perhaps the most memorable thing about Friday night was that it actually felt like a football game at Battle Mountain. Yes, I know you regulars – Moms and Dads and others – are always there. But the student body is usually missing-in-action. At the old Phelan Field, the students would mingle on the west side of the stands, watch the dance team at halftime and then go home.
Friday was more like it. The stands shook, and the team and the coaches felt it, people. It was easy Friday because Battle Mountain was up 23-6 at the half. Your test, boys and girls, is to keep coming out every Friday night. (Don’t come this Friday, though. The Huskies are in Glenwood.)
• OK, Eagle Valley football, the season starts now. There’s nothing you can do about the first half. Forget about 0-5. You’ve got a bye, then are at Moffat, home for Delta, at Cortez, home for somebody and then at Rifle. Use the bye to heal up and work out the kinks and go get ’em. You are Eagle Valley football, and having covered ye olde up-valley team, I know there are always two things the Devils always have: Pride and tradition. Yes, there was more experience last year, but this team can still make its mark.
• Devils soccer, here we go. Due to a stange quirk of the schedule, Jason Rittmiller’s boys have seemingly seen nothing but Moffat, Palisade and Rifle in league. (Yes, I do recall a tie against Battle Mountain) But after disposing of Moffat today, you get Steamboat at home, and things start to get interesting. There are points to be had, gents, as you start playing the Sailors and Glenwood. Remember Steamboat and Glenwood tied twice, and the Huskies Sailors played to a draw. Wins against the Sailors and Demons can put some space can give you some space between yourself and the pack.
• As for Huskies soccer, you showed me something last week. Well done. Cheynne was a tough loss, but you’re going to need it as fuel for your next test.
Now how do you handle adversity? You’re going to get it in Glenwood tonight. Last week’s game against the Demons was mild by Battle Mountain-Glenwood Springs standards. The chirping started late in the game, and it’s going to be going from the start today.
Also, the Demons will get a goal on a fluke or a P.K. As you are reading this column, Glenwood already leads, 1-0. That’s the way it goes at Stubler. Deal with it.
• Aaron Borne and Joe LyBarger, who’s you favorite football team?
• Go Vail: I’ve been covering the Vail Mountain-Vail Christian rivalry since the Saints started up. I call it VMS-Vail Christian because it was very much that way in the early days. I think Battle Mountain’s current coach had something to do with it. It’s been a joy to see it turn into an actual rivalry. Tonight’s match is going to be every bit as electric as when the Devils and Huskies get together.
• And congratulations to Vail Christian. Not only is this the first time in three years that the Saints have hosted this, but it’s also in the “new” gym. Yes, the gym opened last year, but hosting VMS in volleyball really makes it home.
• Ho-hum, Eagle Valley volleyball is 4-0 in the Slope. Lots of season to go, but we told you in this space several weeks ago that this was not a rebuilding year in Gypsum.
• A major shoutout to former coach Rob Crawford who wrote on our Web site after the Devils knocked off the Huskies last week, “As I sat on the sidelines last night and watched this match, I couldn’t help but think about how lucky these kids are on both sides of the net to have such qualified coaches.” Well said, coach.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.