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Little things can make a big difference in a basketball game and in life.
Rock Canyon girls basketball coach Becky Mudd followed up on a good idea of creating a personal challenge for her players, and the game against Legend on Feb. 6 was designated the Small Actions-Big Changes game.
Each girl selected a cause, person, family or group to play the game in honor of.
The girls then had to commit to do a small action to support the person/cause they selected.
Sophomore Molly McEowen played for Alzheimer’s awareness, a disease that touches a lot of people, including her grandfather. For her action, she gave up eating lunch for a week and donated that money to Alzheimer’s research.
Sophia Kozmata’s grandmother passed away from Parkinson’s disease, so Kozmata played for Parkinson’s awareness and wore colored laces.
The senior forward shared what basketball meant to the family as they suffered with the disease.
Saving animals from puppy mills was the selected cause for sophomore guard Dana Weiss, who is a vegetarian to support animals and is vocal about the mistreatment of animals.
Several players got pledges for points, wrote cards and letters to people, did random acts of kindness, made donations, and wore special colored gear.
All shared their stories with the team about their causes, such as Charity H2O, breast cancer awareness, diabetes, pediatric cancer, the American Heart Association, pancreatic cancer, Dr. Jill Pechacek 29:11 Challenge, Make-A-Wish and the Pine Ridge Reservation.
Dave Logan and Ed McCaffrey worked five seasons together broadcasting Denver Broncos football games on the radio as the play-by-play announcer and the analyst, respectively.
I’m sure they probably talked a little about high school football, since Logan is the coach at Cherry Creek and three of McCaffrey’s four sons played for Valor Christian against Creek during that time.
McCaffrey, who gave up his analyst duties last season, is now the head football coach at Valor. So once again Logan and McCaffrey will be talking high school football.
“Dave was a great inspiration to me,” said McCaffrey. “I watched somebody I respect who played at a high level and is one of the best in the business at broadcasting, yet he still has the passion while coaching football.
“He’s had unbelievable success in his high school coaching. It’s because he loves what he is doing. I love this sport too and love coaching it. He kind of paved the way. He showed me you could have a family, have a profession, coach high school football and do the things you want to do. When I watch him coaching, meeting with coaches or drawing up plays, he is a happy man. He showed me this can be done.”
Skill competition in ice hockey
I recall a few of the first high school hockey games I witnessed a few decades ago. It was like watching the movie “Slap Shot,” where players resorted to playing a violent style to become popular.
There wasn’t much attention paid to hockey. Most of the interest for the players and spectators centered around physical play on the ice, which often carried over off the ice by fans after the games.
Times have changed and the skill level of high school hockey players is better.
“High school hockey is getting better and better by leaps and bounds,” said former University of Denver coach George Gwozdecky, who is now the Valor Christian head hockey coach. “Of course you have your programs that are developing a little slower than other programs.
“More and more kids are starting to move towards high school hockey for many reasons, and as a result it is getting more competitive. Rosters on the varsity teams are getting deeper. Kids are starting to realize they can get to junior hockey from playing high school, whereas in the past most of those kids had to play triple A hockey.”
The regular CHSAA season is ending and 24 teams will advance to the state playoffs. The top eight teams in RPI rankings get byes into the second round.
First-round games are scheduled for Feb. 20-21. Second-round and quarterfinals are set for Feb. 23 and 24. Frozen Four games are set for 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on March 5 at the Pepsi Center with the title game on tap for March 6 at the Pepsi Center.
Top eight in the RPI after games of Feb. 9 were Regis Jesuit, Valor Christian, Monarch, Fort Collins, Steamboat Springs, Cherry Creek, Chaparral and Aspen.
Jim Benton is a sports writer for Colorado Community Media. He has been covering sports in the Denver area since 1968. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 303-566-4083.
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