During my senior year at Glenwood Springs High School, our much-anticipated basketball season began on the usual mid-November day in 1978. Our season held an abundance of promise, even though we were kicking off the new campaign minus a couple of starters and some reserve players who were still involved in Glenwood’s successful football run through the playoffs.
We were aware that if the football team advanced all the way to the state championship game, our first basketball contest would fall on the night before the title tilt. Moffat County was scheduled for our home opener, and we all knew we could take them even if we were a bit shorthanded.
The football players held up their end of the bargain and were to play the Valley Vikings in Glenwood on the first Saturday of December. So, it was going to be a basketball Friday and a football Saturday for Demon fans to satisfy their sports appetite.
Or so we thought.
I suspected something was amiss when I saw the look on Coach Chavez’s face as he called us all together to begin that Monday afternoon practice session. The words came slowly and almost in an apologetic tone as Coach informed us the administration of GSHS had decided to postpone the basketball game for a week in order to keep the spotlight on the football team. Coach knew that even missing a few key players, we could still mop the floor with Moffat, but he wanted to start the season with the entire team together, not fragmented.
None of us were real pleased with this decision, especially myself, Kevin Flohr and Rick Eccher, who had worked our tails off and counted the days to that first game.
We told Coach how we felt about the decision and pleaded with him for a reversal. We even went so far as to half-speed our effort the first part of practice until he stopped the action and set us all straight in a diplomatic way.
Following practice, I remember foolishly acting childish while bumping into some of the football players who we shared a locker room with, and brushing by them without so much as a word. I was miffed. They could have their glory, but why were we being denied our moment?
That Saturday, the Demons won the 2A state football championship by easily defeating Valley on a snowy winter day in Glenwood, and the following Friday night, with our full group together, we sent Moffat reeling 98-49.
Of course I rooted on the football team, as I always did. I was glad they won and that we started the season the next week with a full compliment of Demons.
I vividly remember how mad and disappointed I was at losing a week of my senior season way back when. I can’t even begin to imagine how the athletes must feel now, having lost entire seasons of their high school career.
I’m glad the kids will be back in the arena very soon now and get the chance to live out their high school dreams. One week was unbearable to me as a senior, and I admire the youngsters now who have continued to wait and work for their moment to shine.
It’s almost here, so keep believing. I’m excited for all of you!
Glenwood Springs native Mike Vidakovich is a freelance sports writer and youth sports coach. His column appears on occasion in the Post Independent and at postindependent.com