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Seeing the ghosts of Glenwood’s hoops past at the old gym

Mike VidakovichGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Mike Vidakovich
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“Hey, how do you get to the Glenwood High School gymnasium?”The words didn’t sound quite right the moment they came out of my mouth. I attended GSHS, playing varsity basketball from 1977-79. I coached the same sport for the Demons from 1986-99, but I hadn’t been in the new school since its completion. So, I found myself asking directions from a student as I entered the school’s south doors for my Sunday night adult basketball league game.When I stepped into the new, spacious home to Glenwood’s basketball teams, I felt as though I must surely be in the wrong place. I had been attending Demon basketball games since my grade school years, and this wasn’t the spot that held some of my best boyhood memories.Fellow Sunday night hooper Craig Amichaux, who is currently an assistant basketball coach with the girls team at Glenwood High, took me on a quick tour of the new Demon digs before our game. The new gym is very nice and state of the art. The Glenwood athletes and coaches should feel lucky to have such a modern facility at their disposal.When Amichaux and I passed by the door leading to Chavez-Spencer gym, I noticed a single light on in the far corner, giving the old cathedral an eerie and, for me, a sad and forgotten look. The door was locked, so I was left to peer in through the window. As I scanned the familiar site of so many great players and great teams gone by, I thought for just a fleeting moment that I saw David Dean, the silky-smooth guard of the ’71 Demons bringing the ball upcourt toward me. This couldn’t be. I must be daydreaming. Then, in a shadowy corner, several members of the ’72 team came into view. There was Kirk Lyons, raising both arms skyward after another score in the low post. Jon Swartzendruber and John Courier were running alongside Lyons.Suddenly, the gym was filled with memories that were being replayed before my very eyes.Robbie Chavez appeared, banking in one of his long shots from the side in ’75. Kevin Flohr swooped in, from what seemed like the rafters, for a two-handed stuff in ’79. The big man from ’88, Fred Heisel, followed Flohr with a thunder jam of his own. Ricky Sorensen was there, too, in his usual spot at the point, commanding the ’84 state titlists.My head was spinning, but when I looked to where the Demon bench used to be, I saw them – I knew that I would.Coach Chavez was there in front of the bench, in his plaid sport jacket, shouting, “Come on Demons, defense!” Calmly seated by his side was assistant coach Nick Stubler, the architect of the Glenwood freshman and junior varsity programs. Coach Stubler had a smile on his face, seeing all the boys together again in a place where, for one evening, time stood still.I walked away from the gym door with a smile on my face, down the hall toward the new gym where the next generation of Demon athletes will create their own great memories in the years to come.Mike Vidakovich is a freelance sports writer for the Post Independent.


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