Christmas Wish List |

Christmas Wish List

Jon Mitchell
Jon Mitchell
Staff Photo |

I started drooling recently. And no, it’s not because I’m only 2 1/2 years away from turning 40.

I started drooling because a family member in Colorado Springs told me about a camera she was going to get for Christmas. She was sold on this one even though the camera she was originally looking at — a Nikon like I use — was on sale for about half the cost of what it was about a year ago.

Seeing how photography is kind of a passion of mine that happens to be a massive part of my occupation, my bottom lip stuck out a good 10 feet when I realized that this camera, even though it was being sold for $300 cheaper than its original price, was still far-too expensive for me.

Ah … the joys of not having a six-figure bank account.

At least I can say I’ve been able to get some decent sports photos over the course of the year. There’s one I got earlier this month of Rifle’s Jacob Boone who, while trying to scramble for a basketball under the net, practically had his finger in the mouth of Roaring Fork’s Ray Acuna. I remember that one because it’s recent — things tend to blend together over the course of the year.

Still, I always aim to do better at my job, and there’s things I wish for over the course of the year that I’d like to get, like to see, and like to have happen. Hence, this column serves as my annual Christmas Wish List.

As follows:

• I wish congratulations to former Rifle High football coach Darrel Gorham, who is a member of the coaching staff of the Colorado State-Pueblo football team. The ThunderWolves won the Division II national championship on Dec. 20, beating Minnesota State 13-0. Gorham, as many remember, was the Bears’ head football coach in 2004 when they last won the 3A state title. Now, as Pueblo’s tight ends coach, he’s part of a team that won a national title.

Gorham finished his high school coaching career with a record of 180-112 following his departure from Highlands Ranch, which finished 2-8 overall for the second consecutive season. I think it’s safe to say Gorham is in a better place.

• I wish nothing but the best for former Grand Valley High football and girls basketball coach Mike Johnson. After close to 1 1/2 decades of coaching both sports, Johnson stepped away from both programs at the end of last season to take a breather.

Both programs saw a lot of in-uniform success with him at the helm, including the Cardinals’ run to the Class 2A girls basketball state title game in 2008. New Grand Valley girls hoops coach Jake Higuera can’t stop talking about the legacy that Johnson left and the big shoes he has to fill. That said, thee bar was set very high when he left both programs.

• I wish better luck to Glenwood Springs High sophomore quarterback Dante Sparaco, whose verbal football scholarship offer from Jim McElwain of Colorado State might have gone away when McElwain took a job as Florida’s coach. Regardless, he has two more years of high school football and, with the natural talent he has, I’d be absolutely stunned if another Division I school didn’t snatch him up by the time he graduates.

• I wish, for the sake of the local ski resorts and my constant urge to get in a powder fix that the recent snowfall would continue falling, and falling, and falling, and falling ….

• I wish nothing but the best for Glenwood’s own Alice McKennis, who is trying to make a successful comeback from her debilitating knee injury almost two years ago. She’s been disappointed with her first few outings on the World Cup circuit, but she’s pretty darn optimistic about January’s upcoming World Cup schedule.

• I wish the parents who show up at high school basketball games and think it’s a requirement to yell referee-bashing cliches like “call it both ways” or “that’s terrible” would just, well, go away.

• Random thought for a song by Rose Royce: I’m wishing on a staaaaaaaarrrrrrrr ….

• I still wish that Denver had a Major League Baseball team.

• I wish congratulations to Glenwood Springs High grad Jackie Knott, who played on a Colorado School of Mines women’s soccer team this past season that reached the Division II semifinals for the first time in school history. She was a stud when she played for Glenwood a few years back, and the sophomore at Mines is now holding her own with some of the top women’s soccer studs in the nation. Also stepping up this past season was her former teammate at Glenwood, Lilly McSwain, who tallied two assists in 253 minutes of playing time as a sophomore at the University of Denver this past season.

• I always wish I could do more with my job, but there’s always limits to what a one-man sports crew can do.

And last but not least …

• I wish everyone out there a Merry Christmas and a very happy and healthy new year!

Jon Mitchell, the sports editor of the Glenwood Springs Post Independent, is currently enjoying the Christmas present his boss gave him of two consecutive weeks off of work. When he returns from his vacation, he can be reached at 970-384-9123, or by email at

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