John F. Russell: What's in a name? Pride


Utter the words "Folsom Field" on the University of Colorado campus, and you will see the bright light of pride in the eyes of students ranging from freshmen to fifth-year seniors.

Chances are, they have no idea the field was named after Frederick Folsom, who coached his last game at the school in 1915 or that he had a .765 winning percentage, which remains one of the highest in the school's history.

But they know the name is as much a part of football in Boulder as the sight of a buffalo charging onto the field followed by players clad in gold and black.

Venues such as Folsom Field and Sonny Lubick Field at Colorado State University are great reminders of just how closely a program's legacy can be connected to a name.

For years, Carl Ram-unno's wrestling teams ruled the mats inside the old gymnasium, so it was only fitting that, the facility bears his name.

It's true that Steamboat's wrestling program isn't as strong as it used to be, but the name on the gym is a reminder of the coach's effect on our community and the pride that still remains.

This week, the officials at Steamboat Springs High School decided to name the new gym in honor of longtime basketball coach Kelly Meek.

The decision means the coach's name, like Ramunno's, will echo in the halls of the Steamboat Spring High School long after he's stopped coaching.

Whenever students talk about Friday night's big game, the next pep rally or Monday morning's volleyball practice. it will remind us of the coach.

This season, Meek celebrated his 500th win as a coach while leading the Sailors to the state quarterfinals with a 21-3 record.

The season was a highlight for a coach who has strolled along the sidelines for 31 years.

But his legacy in Steamboat will not rest solely on his win-loss record, or state playoff appearances or even state championship trophies.

It lives in the hearts of the players who show up for the first practice of the season, and in the memories of all the players who have worn a Sailors uniform and played for him.

Most Sailors basketball fans already knew the new gym was Meek's house, but I think it's great that the school made it official.

The always humble Meek will tell you that he has been blessed throughout the years. He's had great players, great assistants and great moments. He'll say that he really doesn't deserve to have the gym named after him.

But the truth is that Steamboat is blessed to have Meek teaching our children how to play a game, and teaching them something about life in the process.

We hope that years from now, when people talk about Kelly Meek Gymnasium, it will spark a feeling of pride in the heart of every student who attends Steamboat Springs High School, just like Folsom touches the hearts of students and alumni at the University of Colorado.


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