Thursday, September 9, 2004
With contractual and legal hurdles cleared, a Steamboat Springs High School girls fast-pitch softball team has become a reality.
Team organizers and the Steamboat Springs School District agreed last week on a contract that cleared the way for the squad to become a Tier II sport. The team begins play next week with two games on its schedule.
"The team is well under way," parent, team organizer and coach Donna Ryan said Thursday. "They're progressing amazingly fast."
Whether the team would be able to get organized in time for the fall season was unclear as recently as last week. The district had told Ryan and others that it was supportive of the idea for the team provided that it wouldn't cost the district any money.
But several issues needed to be addressed before the team's status could become official. For one, the district has insisted that Tier II sports -- those fully funded by the teams themselves, not the district -- obtain Colorado nonprofit status and sign a contract with the district. The nonprofit status is a benefit for Tier II teams because it removes the pressure of one parent being responsible for the operation of a team and allows for continuity as players and families graduate from the programs and new ones come in to take their places, district lawyer Mike Holloran has said.
Ryan was able to secure nonprofit status for the team as well as prepare a team budget for district approval. Superintendent Donna Howell signed a contract with the team today, enabling Ryan to submit the team's roster with the Colorado High School Activities Association in time for it to be considered eligible for a potential playoff appearance at the end of the season.
Playoffs or not, getting the team off the ground this year will allow its players, some of whom haven't played competitive softball before, to get a year of experience under their belts, Ryan said.
The team has scheduled nine games, the first of which takes place Tuesday in Rifle. The team's first home game is Thursday at Howelsen Hill against Basalt.
The players held a bake sale last week to help raise money to cover team expenses. Ryan said community reaction to the team was very positive.
"There's pretty big community interest in it," Ryan said.
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