Patti Kauf-Melehes: Focus on the positives

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— Steamboat Springs is a community that supports and encourages its youths in sports. Some of our most beloved local sports heroes are men and women who learned to battle through loss, never giving up and never letting others tell them what they could not achieve. They persevered, willing to work harder when the road ahead was tough. We cheered them on through difficult times and were there to celebrate their victories.

What made it special for all of us in Steamboat was others said it couldn’t be done, yet those were our athletes who did it! Don’t tell Steamboat athletes what can’t done because we will prove you wrong. Just ask our 79 Olympians.

That is why I find it surprising that the Steamboat Today has focused on the lack of wins for our high school football team since the state championship game in 2009. The state runner-up team of 2009 was an amazing team with a roster of exceptional athletes. It brought the excitement of Friday night lights to Steamboat and allowed everyone to enjoy their success. Nothing is to be taken away from that team or coaches and what they accomplished.

However, this is not 2009 or 2010. This is a new season, 2011. Yes, we are a young team with many players starting on varsity for the first time. But please, don’t hold this team accountable for what other teams have or have not accomplished, but give them a chance to define who they will be.

The Steamboat Springs High School football team is made up of young men who are willing to work hard every day to learn to become a team. What makes these young men champions is getting back up after a defeat. Their willingness to get back on the field and work harder, learn new plays, study the upcoming team films, be good students and family members and hold their heads high is what sets them apart. We as a community should be proud of their commitment to continue on, even when the road ahead is not easy.

The football coaches are members of our community who give up time from their jobs, families and activities to teach and encourage these young men. Yes they are football coaches, but they are so much more; they are mentors, leaders and role models for our kids, and we are very fortunate to have them.

I am a strong believer in focusing on the positive. If you want positive results, you surround yourself with positive people — those who believe in you, encourage you and help you get to where you want to be. One of the things that make Steamboat such a great place to live is it is a community filled with positive people. I have only lived in Steamboat a short time, but I have been amazed at how this community embraces our young athletes. This is a community where people show up and support one another.

I encourage you to be supportive of our high school football team. Support the players and thank the coaches. High school football is not only about the team, the coaches and parents; it is about community. Show up for Friday night lights, enjoy the sense of community, and if you pause long enough, you may just remember that high school sports are not only about winning and losing, they are about playing the game.

There are no guarantees for wins in life, but as we grow older we come to realize that the gift is not winning, but getting out on the field and giving our all.

Patti Kauf-Melehes

Steamboat Springs

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