Having something to prove can help a team | PostIndependent.com

Having something to prove can help a team

Casper's Corner
Jeff Caspersen
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Sometimes an old chip on the shoulder is just what the doctor ordered.

Look no farther than the New England Patriots and Camera Gate or whatever the heck you want to call it. Their vilification at the hands of the media and fans has only served to fuel their fire.

Have you seen Tom Brady crack a smile all season? No, it’s all business in the Pats’ camp, and business by their standards is annihilating whatever team they’re lined up against. Coach Belichick’s mastered the post-knockout blow knockout blow. And the team, out to prove they deserved each and every diamond on those three Super Bowl rings, is quite honestly better off for all the negative early season press.

Alright, so why I am talking about the Patriots? Here comes the local twist.

CHSAA absolutely did the Glenwood Springs and Rifle football teams a favor by assigning them underdog tags. Sure, the Demons were ranked No. 1 by RockyPreps for pretty much the entire second half of the season. Sure, both teams play in a top-loaded Class 3A Western Slope League.

How are they rewarded? With the No. 2 and No. 16 seeds, respectively.

If I’m Glenwood coach Rocky Whitworth or Rifle frontman Damon Wells, I’m thrilled to death. I’m jumping for joy, penning a few thank you cards to the CHSAA seeding committee, then jumping a little more.

Never ” I repeat, never ” underestimate the power of that chip I mentioned in the lead paragraph. It helped Grand Valley to the 2A basketball title last school year. I can’t tell you how often the infamous “Western Slope slight” came up when talking to various Cardinals or coach Scott Kiburis during their improbable run as the fifth seed.

You think Rifle didn’t feed off low seeding entering the 2004 or 2005 football playoffs, brackets from which they emerged state champs and state runners-up?

There’s no better motivator than having something to prove. Honestly, it’s the cornerstone of Glenwood’s No. 1-ranked program. Why do you think Whitworth shows his players movies like “300?” He wants them to know that, like the Spartans, the Demons may be smaller ” but neither weaker nor less hard-working ” than kids at football-rich schools in other parts of the state.

He’s giving them something to prove.

Taking a top ranking into the playoffs would threaten that David vs. Goliath atmosphere that’s served the resurgent program so well in 2007.

Same goes for Rifle and third-seeded Grand Valley in the 1A football bracket. Take those seeds and run with ’em. It’s as ready-made a motivator as you’ll get.

After all, it’s quite often the shoulder chip that lands you the jackpot.

Contact Jeff Caspersen at 384-9123 or jcaspersen@postindependent.com.

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