Luke Graham's column appears periodically in the Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4229 or lgraham@SteamboatToday.com.
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Aurora As successful as Steamboat Springs High School football coach Aaron Finch has been in football, he’s been even more successful in business.
So when put to the task of trying to define the Sailors’ 2009 football season, Finch went to what he knew best. He compared it to business.
And it’s a pretty darn simple and effective philosophy.
Nothing comes at once. Nothing comes easy.
Simply put, just get better every single day. Think about that. Wake up tomorrow and just try to get better.
In most cases, it’s not the rocket science ideas that get successful people to where they are. It’s going through Monday, waking up Tuesday and trying to be better than the day before. Wednesday, just do the same thing.
On Saturday, the Steamboat Springs High School football team wasn’t at its best. But that’s not what should define this team. Excuses could abound with injuries and everything else, but the bottom line is that Valor Christian was and will be a very good football team for a long time.
When the school moves to Class 4A next season, it’s not out of the realm of possibility to think the Eagles will be playing again in early December 2010, but just a few miles north at Invesco Field at Mile High in the Class 4A state championship.
But that’s the thing about the Steamboat Springs High School football team. The success — and, yes, it’s a success to make it to the state championship game regardless of the outcome — was built on improving every day.
A resounding testament to that came a couple of years ago, when these seniors were sophomores.
The team opened the season at Kent Denver, who fell, 21-0, to Faith Christian in the Class 2A state championship Saturday.
Gawky sophomores getting their first taste of varsity football wasn’t exactly pretty. At times, it was downright ugly. Sure, the Sailors won that day, but they got some breaks.
But it was there that the groundwork and the first steps toward improving happened.
People could see then what this senior class was capable of. And for the better part of three seasons, Steamboat woke up on Mondays and got better on Tuesdays.
The team exited the first round of playoffs in 2007 and did the same thing in 2008. But before this season, getting better meant putting in the work.
For some, it started last Thanksgiving. It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t always fun. It was doing repetitions 18, 19 and 20 in the squat rack, watching film after school and enduring 5-degree weather all week.
And as Finch puts it, this team had some of its best practices ever this week.
So while heads hung, tears flowed and people thought about what could have been, it’s hard not to notice the success of these players.
Besides, today is Sunday, and tomorrow is Monday.
And that’s just two more opportunities to get better.