I have to confess, I am not much of a column writer.
Over the course of my career, I have found my words flow the freest when I am describing a scene or an event. Writing about a hard knock in baseball or a blindside sack in football has always been a simple task — report what I saw, spice it up with a few adjectives.
With this in mind, my present missive is quite a painful one. With Friday being my last day with the Broomfield Enterprise and BoCoPreps.com, I have been tasked with writing a farewell column.
My editor is under the misguided belief that after 10 years of covering sports I have developed some profound perspective. I am more dubious about the matter. I do not know if I have any sage wisdom to shed on prep athletics or sports in general outside of keep your head on a swivel.
On the other hand, I can express how truly lucky I have been to come back to the region I grew up in and share — in some small way — the excitement of the success of local athletics.
And boy have I seen a lot of success. It is part and parcel in covering my beat’s three schools — Broomfield, Legacy, and Holy Family.
In between finishing my final work and packing up my desk I was able to do a rough survey of my time with the Eagles, Lightning, and Tigers. And what I came up with took my breath away.
The three high schools have won a total of 32 state team championships on my watch. And of the 17 sports the institutions compete in, there are only two in which one of those schools has not collected a team or individual state title at some point this past decade.
Heck, between Broomfield, Legacy and Holy Family girls basketball there are 11 titles alone. And there are so many individual championships the paper would have to keep me on for another week just to get an accurate count.
As you can well imagine, a decade of such incredible accomplishments has embedded a slew of memories. And as is true of any nostalgic mood, it does not take much to stir up some of the most striking.
One of the most vivid was Geoff Sewell’s 3-pointer in the 2004 Class 4A state semifinals.
The Broomfield forward’s only basket from downtown his senior year came in overtime, near half court and in the last seconds. It arguably was one of the key plays in the Eagles’ state championship that year and it was as incredible as it was improbable. Honestly, I never believed I would watch a shot so counterintuitive to the position and so clutch in delivery ever again. But sure enough, this past winter Claudia Pena dropped the only 3-pointer of her season in equally dramatic fashion, with the post player knocking down the shot the dwindling seconds of overtime to help deliver the Holy Family girls the 3A title.
It has not just been plays, but players who come rushing back in my mind.
Legacy produced a few of the most dominant athletes I have ever watched. It is difficult to peg down a single moment in Lightning guard Melissa Jones’ basketball career, or Shelby Babcock and Rainey Gaffin’s softball careers. These young ladies were truly on a different level than the rest of their competition. Each time they suited up it was almost like perusing a highlight reel.
Then there are always the back stories to each team that don’t make the headlines, but nonetheless stick out.
The longevity of the coaches I have worked with is a story within itself — a majority of them were on the job when I started in 2002. Or the alumni who have come back to coach at their alma maters is always impressive. Or even the family ties of sons and fathers coaching shoulder to shoulder is something special.
It has been an incredible ride to be sure, one I enjoyed every tackle, strike, and flip of. And, I suppose with this little trip down memory lane, one that has stirred at least one lesson about athletics in me. In between all the wind sprints, morning shoot-arounds and title runs, take a second to cherish the moment. Ten years from now those will shine brighter than any trophy or award.
Thank you Broomfield for a wonderful decade.
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