Luke Graham's column appears periodically in the Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4229 or lgraham@SteamboatToday.com.
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At the Steamboat Springs boys basketball banquet Tuesday evening, there was a little back and forth between longtime Pilot & Today reporter Tom Ross and Sailors coach Kelly Meek.
Ross was a sports reporter around the time Meek led Steamboat to three consecutive state track titles in the late 1970s and early 1980s, which led to Ross jokingly writing in a column that he thought that's how it would be every year.
Of course, it wasn't like that every year, but it doesn't mean there isn't a dynasty in place in Steamboat Springs.
Dynasties come up every time around this year. A lot of programs claim they have a dynasty. Last year at state track, I saw several shirts that claimed schools had dynasties. One shirt had listed regional championships since 1990. There were six years, then in big block letters: "Dynasty." That's not a dynasty. A dynasty is the UCLA Bruins with coach John Wooden or the Boston Celtics with Bill Russell.
It's also the Steamboat Springs boys basketball team.
When Meek was giving out awards and discussing the last 34 years of the program, some mind-numbing numbers came out.
Consider these: Steamboat's been ranked in the top 10 by the Rocky Mountain News 31 of the past 34 years. Denver East and Denver Christian are the only other schools in Colorado that can match that. Steamboat has won 44 league, district or regional championships and 20 preseason tournament championships. The team has won the league championship eight of the past 11 years, including three undefeated league campaigns in the past four years. In that span, the Sailors won 30 consecutive league games, a school and league record. They've had 102 all-conference players, 41 all-state players, 15 players selected to play in the Colorado Coaches Association's all-state summer game and three McDonald's All-Americans.
The team has won 544 games.
That's a testament to the continuity in the program. It's a testament to all the coaches who have worked in the program, to all the players who have walked through the gym and had the privilege to play for Meek, and to the community that's embraced mountain town basketball.
Now if we could only fit all that on a shirt. It wouldn't even matter the style of lettering "Dynasty" was written in.