Hunt:Forty-Eight Days and Counting | Hunt(ing) in Colorado
by Jeff Hunt
Jul 08, 2007 | 313 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Forty-eight days.

That’s when the Colorado High School Activities Association sanctioned football season begins.

For those who don’t want to grab the calendar and count that far ahead, that means Aug. 13. That’s when high school football programs across the state can suit up and commence practicing for the 2007 season.

Ridgway is hoping to be one of those programs putting on helmets and lacing up cleats on that second Monday in August. But is 48 days really enough time to schedule games, order uniforms and helmets, and, not to mention – find a field? Well, only time will tell.

There are numerous pros and cons to this situation. The first touchdown that’s been scored is funding. Victoria Hearst of Praise Him Ministries in Ridgway has graciously stepped forward and is willing to fully sponsor the financial operation of the team for its first two years.

But will money alone be enough? Sadly, no. It’s going to take more than writing a check; I think everyone understands that – at least I hope, anyway.

What else does this community have going for it? A big heart and people willing to help out.

At their disposal, this community could also have two former NFL players willing to take on the role – tentatively, mind you – of developing this program. Hey, can’t beat the talent from the NFL, right?

Also, the way parents and sports enthusiasts have attacked the task of building a new gymnasium at the secondary school is an indication of things to come. Don’t doubt the power and the drive of the people in Ouray County; I’ve learned that very quickly.

So now for the bad news.

I hate to say it, but we’re behind the eight-ball here folks. The clock is ticking and to me, that’s the number one drawback. Plus, there’s no definite coach, no field, no uniforms, no schedule, and then there’s permission from CHSAA.

Better yet, it’s still not clear if the team will even be eligible to compete in eight-man football at all, especially if the kids down valley from Ouray are allowed to play, which would push the enrollment classification easily into an 11-man category. Believe me guys, you won’t want that and there are plenty football-smart people in the area that will be the first to acknowledge that.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m an advocate of a football program just as much as the 30 or so individuals at the football meeting on June 19. I played two years of junior high and then started all four years of high school. Actually, it was odd when I moved here last October and the closest geographic prep football game was in Montrose. And when they weren’t playing in town – or the Olathe Pirates – my father-in-law and I drove all the way to Delta just to catch a game.

So in a nutshell, here’s what I’m afraid of (and this is in the best interest of the future of the program because I know it will get off the ground – eventually): Are the 48 days from today (June 26) enough time to get done what needs done? I’m not 100 percent sold on it, but nor am I going to give up hope on this community. Does that classify sitting on the fence? Yes. I just have the best interest of the kids of this community in mind, but I too want to see a football team on the field.

So we as a community might just be setting ourselves, as well as our kids, up for failure with these limited resources. I know, failure is a harsh word, especially when we’re talking about high school kids, but let’s be realistic. That was even talked about at that June 19 meeting: this may not be the right, or even enough time. To me, nothing is worth doing unless it’s done right.

However, can it be done right in 48 days? That’s for the community to take on and to prove. It won’t surprise me in the least if it does get done and we’ll be hearing pads cracking in August.

Good luck all!

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