Yogi, my golf game and marching orders for this week
We dedicate the column to late great Yogi Berra, one of the greatest catchers ever whose persona likely overwhelmed those skills.
I often hear from coaches that I am in no position to judge sports because I don’t play them. This doesn’t pass the sniff test. That said, I play the card this time. I play golf.
OK, let’s modify that. I have a lot of golf equipment and I swat at a little white ball (a Noodle) at assorted targets throughout western Colorado, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and in the San Francisco Bay Area. To put this in genetic context, my father, an international tax attorney who did not know who the heck his new client was — Tiger Woods — played nine holes once and shot a 108. (I had to explain to Pop, “Yes, your new client can afford your retainer.”)
I love golf. It’s a passion, only rivaled by Giants baseball. (One year I took a golf vacation to Scottsdale, Arizona, and, in a complete coincidence, the Giants were playing the Diamondbacks.)
I am generational progress, but I know in the greater scheme of things I suck bog water. When Eagle Valley’s Barrett Jones told me he played two rounds at Fox Hills in Longmont, the site of the 4A state tournament, and played poorly, 74-76 in two rounds, I told him I hated him. (My all-time low is 90, and it was a day when every ball bounced in every perfect way it could with the sun and the moon and other galactic forces aligned.)
Golf, to some, is not a sport. Bull-hooey. (Particularly when high-schoolers walk Eagle-Vail. Done it once, and it’s a highly overrated experience.) The way Jones, Ben Barron, Oliver Pesso and Sean Weller strike the ball is most definitely an athletic skill.
More so, it’s a brain sport. Stuff happens, particularly at a one-day regional tournament. That’s pressure, and you can feel that state berth, an entire season, slipping away.
Scores soared on Tuesday at Haymaker and the VMS threesome all felt like they weren’t going to make it. When you think you’re done — remember this isn’t the PGA; there are no scoreboards out there — the hardest thing to do is keep plugging.
Well done, Barrett, Ben, Oliver and Sean.
(By the way, two of the four state qualifiers like the Giants. Coincidence? I think not.)
• Battle Mountain soccer rang up a good victory in many ways on Tuesday night, beating Summit, 6-0. It’s good to hand the Tigers their lunch. I liked the way the Huskies played. Battle Mountain will also gain on someone tonight as Eagle Valley and Steamboat meet up north. From Battle Mountain’s point of view, a tie is best.
More importantly, David Cope’s crew needs to focus on itself. The potential is there as flashed in wins over Montrose, Steamboat and Summit. The consistency needs to be developed, and that comes from within.
• Eagle Valley soccer is a good example of that intangible. You’ve seen it develop in the last calendar year or so. It’s the darnedest thing because, on paper, which doesn’t count for squat, I think the Huskies are more talented. Yet the Devils keep coming and find a way, as we saw in the first round of the local rivalry in Gypsum.
The Devils are in deep tonight playing up in Steamboat. (I love that Sailors coach Rob Bohlmann made the trip to scout Eagle Valley at Glenwood Springs. That’s respect.) On the other hand, it’s nothing Eagle Valley can’t handle.
• Different league, but an excellent team nonetheless … Vail Mountain School opens league play at Rifle today. (Must. Not. Drop. Points.) The Gore Rangers have a good vibe. They produced my favorite moment of the year so far when defender Michael Resnick was distraught about a mistake, even after Peter Ferraro got the golden goal against Roaring Fork last week.
Resnick was standing outside the postgame huddle, apparently feeling not worthy of celebrating, and coach Pete Petrovski pulled him into the middle of the bunch. This is team sport at its finest.
And, Resi, I guarantee you this — you will make a play that will save your team’s bacon at some point this season.
The ‘little’ school
• Bravo to Vail Christian volleyball. Yes, Battle Mountain didn’t play well. The Saints did, and seized the opportunity. Keep rolling in the Gore League.
• Battle Mountain, learn from it. You must respect every opponent and bring your best game every night because this year’s 4A Slope is a dogfight. No one is going 14-0 or 13-1 in this league. You could well have 10-4 or 9-5 winning the Slope.
• Case in point: There are only two teams at 2-0 — Eagle Valley and Steamboat. Go Devils tonight at Steamboat.
A forward pass?
• I think Eagle Valley football just gave Rifle something to ponder with those passes against Basalt. Nice wrinkle, Devils. The Bears are still favored, given the history, but Friday night is not David and Goliath.
• Battle Mountain football, I leave you alone for one week, and you start turning the ball over like that? Come on, guys. Ball security is our friend. Get ready because Moffat County’s coming to town next week. The Bulldogs will eat you alive if you commit turnovers.
• No turnovers for the Saints last week in a 66-18 thumping of Nederland. Forty-six points in a quarter? Football assistant and boys basketball coach Sheldon Kuhns and I were texting last week because we are technology masters. The Saints on the hardwood have never done that. Sheldon had 35 points, which in an eight-minute quarter is excellent, as the basketball high.
And after much jiggering, the Saints host Rocky Mountain Lutheran at 2 p.m. at Battle Mountain on Saturday.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.
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We just have to ask, is there anything Shiffrin can’t do?