Vidakovich column: A good time to find our own Willoughby

Mike Vidakovich
Mike Vidakovich

Demon Hoops Fun to Watch

I enjoyed watching all of the area basketball teams this winter, but it was especially fun to get to see so many of the Glenwood boys’ and girls’ games.

Both teams posted impressive overall records, and each managed to go undefeated in 4A Western Slope League play. In impressive fashion, the girls made it to the round of 16 in the state playoffs, and the boys came within a whisker of making it to the Final Four in Denver, bowing out to Pueblo West at home in the Great Eight.

It stood out to me with each group, that the team truly came first. No selfish players could be found on the court at any time. It was obvious that the end result was more important than any individual accolades.

Each time I interviewed a player from the boys’ team following a game, the first thing that was mentioned was a teammate. It was actually hard to get the individual Demon to talk about himself and his contributions to the win. Without fail, the first comment was in regard to another member of the squad who had set him up for a score, played great defense, or who got the key rebounds and steals to help the team come out on top.

With the type of kids on both Demon teams, it’s no wonder they both enjoyed such successful seasons.

GS Basketball Future is Bright

The boys and girls teams lost a great deal of talent to graduation, but several eager and capable young players from the Demon junior varsity and “C” teams are waiting in the wings to carry on the Glenwood basketball tradition. Also worth noting is the fact that the seventh- and eighth-grade boys at Glenwood Middle School recently placed second in the state championships held in Colorado Springs. Both teams also won the middle school PEG League championship in their respective division last fall.

March Sadness

When I heard the NCAA basketball tournament had been canceled, I thought back to a late March day in 1985 when, on the way back to school in Greeley, I was able to get a ticket to watch the men’s west regional final at McNichols Sports Arena in Denver. It was a big game featuring North Carolina State University, coached by Jimmy Valvano, and St. John’s U. from New York City, coached by Lou Carnesecca. The winner would go to the Final Four.

I got one of the last seats in the end balcony, or the nose bleed section as it is known, but it was well worth it to watch two legendary programs, and coaches, battle it out. St. John’s was a talented bunch with Mark Jackson, Chris Mullin, Walter Berry and Willie Glass. They were known at the time as the Beasts from the East. NC State had a diminutive guard named Spud Webb who would go on to NBA fame as a player and slam dunk contest champion.

St. John’s won the game, sending Carnesecca to his first-ever final four. Valvano’s Wolfpack of NC State had won the national title in 1983 with a victory over the Houston Cougars. Valvano passed away in late April 1993 after a lengthy battle with cancer. At the time, I didn’t fully realize the magnitude of the players and personalities I had watched that day in my youth. A memorable game and an unforgettable day all around.

Sequoia Glen 5k Postponed

For the last 20 years, I have hosted the Sequoia Glen 5K Run at my house in west Glenwood. The long trek up Mitchell Creek and above the Glenwood Fish Hatchery won’t happen this spring due to the current health crisis in the country and the world.

The race was supposed to go off on Saturday, April 18, but the risks are too great to get my old running buddies together, as we have done each spring for two decades. Maybe a rescheduled date in the fall can happen. It will all depend on what is going on at the time. I’m positive everything will be OK, and we’ll be able to gather again soon and run up that big hill together.

‘A Stop at Willoughby’

On the recommendation of my friend Patti Welch, I recently watched and old episode of the Twilight Zone television show called “A Stop at Willoughby.”

The 30-minute fictional segment is about New York City advertising executive Gart Williams who is tired of his overbearing boss, nagging wife and stressful lifestyle. Williams, who longs for a peaceful and restful place where a man can slow down to a walk and live his life full measure, drifts off and naps on his daily train commute home from work. On several trips, he believes he wakes up to find the train car deserted except for himself and the conductor, who is telling him he has arrived in a town called Willoughby.

Though it is the middle of winter, Williams peers out the window to discover it is July in Willoughby, and the sun is in full bloom. Everyone is moving at a leisurely pace, including two boys who ask him to join them for an afternoon of fishing.

Williams is jolted awake each time to find himself back in the modern train car with snow coming down sideways outside his window.

Finally, following a breakdown at work, and a fight with his selfish, uncaring wife who tells him she “Didn’t know I married a man whose goal in life is to be Huckleberry Finn,” Williams boards the train once again, falls asleep and arrives in Willoughby. Though Willoughby doesn’t really exist, Williams decides this time he will get off the train and become a part of the ideal place that sometimes only exists in the hidden part of a man’s mind. He decided to climb off a world that was moving much too fast for his liking.

I won’t tell you how the episode concludes. Maybe you will have to watch to see for yourself.

In these strange times, maybe each of us needs to search for our own Willoughby, where there is sunlight and serenity in abundance. Things will be fine. Just stay positive and be thankful for all that we have.

And furthermore, what’s wrong with wanting to be Huckleberry Finn?

Mike Vidakovich writes freelance for the Post Independent.

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