Injury benches longtime official, for now, anyway
Leaning against the gym wall at Roaring Fork High School on Saturday, Randy Hunt looked like he was just enjoying some high-quality hoops action.While he indeed was watching an entertaining matchup between two of Class 3A’s best boys squads in Roaring Fork and Aspen, it was a very unusual Saturday for Hunt.He was wearing a tan shirt and jeans, very different from his typical weekend wardrobe – black pants and a black-and-white-striped shirt.After tearing a calf muscle in his right leg while officiating the Glenwood Springs-Moffat County boys basketball game on Friday night, Hunt missed his first officiating assignment due to injury in more than 20 years.
Hunt, a basketball official for 30 years, was scheduled to call two games in Basalt on Saturday. Then he was going to head back to Carbondale after the girls Basalt game and watch his former sons’ (Tyler and Trevor’s) team – the Rams.Instead, he watched both Roaring Fork’s girls and boys games. Often times he was chatting with other officials, who outside of the three calling the game, were scattered about the gym as spectators.This is a frequent scene, officials catching games they are not working. They do it because they love the kids, they love the game and they want to get better at their job. So they watch to improve. Hunt is always around, and other officials are always around him.Hunt, the president of Glenwood Springs Officials Association and former president of the Colorado Board No. 4 State Officers for the Colorado High School Activities Association (which oversees all officials for the state), is a popular guy among fellow referees, and even coaches. While being checked out by Glenwood trainer Marni Barton after sustaining the injury on Friday, Demon girls head coach Bryan Derby was one of the first to come over and check on him. Even the crowd was worried about Hunt, who initially thought he tore his Achilles.
It’s kinda funny to imagine the customary “get your glasses” thoughts from the crowd turning into “get the trainer.”But Barton delivered good news – his Achilles was intact, and it was just a calf injury. Two to three weeks and Hunt could use his whistle again. Hunt’s last injury came when he tore his arch during a college game while he and his wife Jennifer were only dating.Hunt blames this one on old age, but was certain that nothing could stop him from getting back on the court.”I will be back,” he said. “Nothing could stop me.”
The guy deserves one of those Bud Light “Here’s to you” commercials. Here’s to you mister always dependable despite little pay man. You chance questionable winter driving conditions, hostile crowds waiting to hurl insults and risk injury all so high-schoolers can play basketball. You’ve traded in the freedom to wear colors to imitate a zebra and, for that, you deserve the utmost praise.So, thanks, mister always dependable despite little pay man. Here’s to you.Contact Joelle Milholm: email@example.com
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The Coal Ridge High boys suffered their first 3A Western Slope League loss of the year Thursday night on the road at Gunnison, falling to the defending league champion Cowboys 65-45.