I haven’t given up on Colorado’s professional baseball team known as the Rockies. I don’t think I ever will.
With each spring comes the birth of a new baseball season and my hope that the home-state Rockies will face off against my first and forever love, the Baltimore Orioles, when the big series in October rolls around. The Orioles are holding up their end of the bargain, competing well in the eastern division of the American League, but the Rockies once again are trying to avoid finishing in the National League cellar.
The Rockies’ manager, Walt Weiss, is in his second season as the skipper of Denver’s often-injured and underachieving major league team. In a recent Denver Post article, Weiss was asked how he is able to keep a positive atmosphere in his team’s clubhouse despite a record that is among the worst in baseball.
Weiss simply stated that with each new day, he presses the reset button on hope. He’s learned through a career as a solid big league shortstop and now as a manager, that you can’t live and die with every out in a baseball game. The resilient ability to bounce back after failure, even when it seems constant, is the key ingredient in chasing success.
If Weiss is allowed to stick around as Colorado’s manager — and I think he should be — the Rockies will find a way to piece things together in the near future. When healthy, there’s too much talent on that roster for a successful season to remain so elusive.
Weiss will keep pressing that reset button and his team will start to believe. It’s just a matter of time.
After reading the article about Weiss and his team, I rushed off to my book closet to dig out an old cult classic running epic about the University of Colorado’s 1998 cross country team.
“Running with the Buffaloes” is the name of the book, and in it, author Chris Lear chronicles a season with the men of CU, and their iconic coach Mark Wetmore, as they encounter triumphs and heartbreaks during an unforgettable NCAA season.
Included in the book is the tragic loss of Aspen’s Chris Severy, one of the Buffs top runners and a beloved team member who lost his life in a mountain-biking accident in early October of that year.
The team never really recovers emotionally from the loss of their friend, but they manage, as Weiss would put it, to push the reset button on hope and continue with a season that ends with an NCAA cross country championship, their ultimate tribute to Severy.
As I thumbed through the book, I thought a great deal about people who have continued on through trying times when the light of hope seemed to be a distant flicker. My thoughts naturally turned to Bob Willey.
The amount of community support for Willey has not been surprising to me. He has touched so many lives in a positive way, and it’s hard to even put into words.
If he could speak to everyone who has been so supportive, I know he would deliver an Everest-sized THANK YOU.
I knew the man well, so I thought I would take the liberty of saying some things that I believe he would have wanted to tell you himself:
Don’t take any day, not even one, for granted. Hug your family and tell them you love them always. Make a plan to do everything you want to, everything you dream of.
Drink deeply from that morning cup of coffee and that evening Corona beer on the deck. Walk with your dog, run, play golf and softball, ski, travel as much as possible, write down your thoughts, and read good books often (especially those written by Carl Hiaasen).
Be nice to everyone, play poker with your buddies, be an actor, float the river, spend time in the mountains, do things that make you happy, laugh as much as possible, and never, ever, let your spirit grow old.
Since he was a big baseball fan, especially when it came to the Rockies and the Minnesota Twins, I know Willey would agree with the words of Walt Weiss.
Press the reset button on hope.
Mike Vidakovich is a freelance writer from Glenwood Springs. His column appears monthly in the Post Independent.