Steamboat Springs Real winners
I've only been doing it for the last three-and-a-half years, but it's obvious that being a parent is one the hardest tasks that I will ever face.
It has also been one of the most rewarding.
Each morning I wake up at roughly 6:45 to the sound of cartoons on the television. Between episodes of "Bob the Builder" and "Franklin" I normally manage to get my boy in a bath, steal a hug and a few kisses and then head off to work.
While this age has many challenges, I know that the problems I face will soon range far beyond the realm of "Scooby Doo" and "Power Rangers."
As a sports reporter I know that parents often struggle when it comes to their children and the role each family member will play in sports.
At times some parents seem to try to live their own dreams through the eyes, and legs, of their child. Believe it or not, some parents become so consumed with seeing their own children succeed that they seem to forget about the bigger and more important message that sports can deliver.
Luckily, from my perspective, the majority of parents in Steamboat Springs do not fit into this category and, at least on the outside, can take the pressures of youth sports in stride. Some of these parents are very involved while others prefer to stand back and watch from the sidelines.
Either method works fine, as long as those adults have established the guidelines which keep them from becoming an annoying person who makes me want to create a law that would ban all parents from youth sporting events.
I must admit that one of my biggest fears is that I will become one of these types of parents. I shiver at the thought that someday I will slip into a mental fog and start showing slides of my children playing sports to unsuspecting guests following dinner parties. There is also that nightmare in which I start bragging so much, that people roll their eyes into the backs of their heads the minute I walk into a room.
I've seen these parents and believe me it's enough to wake you up from a deep sleep in the middle of the night.
But last weekend at the state track and field championships in Lakewood I saw two dads who set a perfect example of how to act when faced with the challenge of supporting a child, while not becoming to overbearing.
Both men are coaches, but on this particular weekend they were dads first.
Football coach Bert Svendsen sat in the metal bleachers of the Jeffco Stadium and watched his son Kyle nervously wait for the outcome of the qualifying rounds of the triple jump.
Kyle was on the bubble to make the finals and Bert was their to quietly support him during this clearly anxious time.
In the end, Kyle didn't make the finals. Bert didn't jump off the stands in shock and act like his son had been robbed. There were also no signs of disappointment in his face or his actions. He simply leaned over, put his hand on his son's shoulders and told him he was sorry that he hadn't made the finals. His son Kyle responded by saying, "That's okay dad, I did my best" and that was that.
It was a nice moment between a dad and his son and one that left this sports reporter with a warm feeling inside.
It was a moment that could have been filled with expectations and pressure, but in this case the feelings were replaced with mutual respect that had been earned by the son and the father.
Across the stadium on the discus field Dave Combs watched his daughter earn the respect of other competitors as she made a bid for a state title.
It was clear that Combs, who is an assistant coach for the girls basketball team and a former sports writer himself, wanted to give his daughter advice as she moved into the finals. Instead, he fought off the desire every parent has to be confronted with. The inner drive to tell their children what to do in this important stage of their lives.
"I'm not a coach today," Combs said. "Just a dad."
In the end his daughter Brienna placed third in the state without getting any advice from her dad.
Combs watched his daughter proudly as she got a medal on the podium in front of thousands of people in her final high school sporting event. Then the pair headed off to Alaska for a fishing and hunting trip just as close as they had been a few hours earlier when the state track meet had started.
The pair never went through a stressful moment, there were no "I told you so's" and in the end the result was a good one.
It was fun to watch as these particular parents formed a stronger relationship with their children through sports. I have watched other parents take a different, less desirable approach to these same situations and often with less desirable results.
Lets face it, when it's all said and done it really doesn't matter if the high school kids I cover win state titles or become stars of the teams they play for. The important thing is that they form stronger relationships with their teammates, coaches and parents.
Both of these parents set examples I hope that I can follow a few years down the road with my own children. I want to thank these parents for setting a trend I hope will live on in the future.