John F. Russell: Driving for a new season

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— Steamboat Springs High School golfer Sam Samlowski hit a few last balls on the Haymaker Golf Course driving range Wednesday morning before picking up his bag and walking toward the No. 1 tee to play a round.

In his mind, the day brought just another round of golf, but as a veteran photographer assigned to get a shot during the opening week of high school golf, I knew the journey meant so much more.

The start of high school golf marks the start of high school sports in Colorado. It also marks the end of summer vacation and lets the rest of us know that fall is on the horizon.

It might seem like summer just arrived in the Yampa Valley. If you take a short hike up the trail that leads to the Rabbit Ears you will still find fields of snow normally gone this late into the year.

But in the next few weeks, whether I like it or not, the temperatures will begin to fall in the evenings, and the daytime highs won’t be too far behind.

“I can’t believe it’s already that time of year again,” Sailors golf coach Steve Dodson yelled at me as I photographed players vying for this year’s varsity roster. “It kind of snuck up on me this year — but it always seems to sneak up on me.”

Golf officially opened the high school sports season on Aug. 8. It’s the first sport to swing into action and will be followed by football, volleyball, cross country, boys soccer, boys tennis and spirit on Monday.

I may not want to admit it, but the calendar doesn’t lie. The high school sports season has arrived and soon our Friday nights will be filled with the sound of high school football. There will be plenty of other prep teams to cheer for in Steamboat Springs, Hayden and South Routt during the next few months.

I hate the end of summer, but I have to admit that there is something exciting about the start of a new season. I love to watch high school basketball in the winter and there is nothing more exciting that watching the finals of the 100-meter dash in the spring, but those seasons don’t hold the same magic as the start of the fall high school season.

In the next few weeks, we will watch as a new class of athletes steps onto the competitive stage hoping their teams will be the ones to play for state championships.

But until that first game, don’t blame me if I want to absorb enough of summer’s warmth to carry me through the long Steamboat Springs winter.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209 or email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com

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