Luke Graham

Luke Graham

Luke Graham: Challenge accepted

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Luke Graham

Luke Graham's column appears periodically in the Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4229 or lgraham@SteamboatToday.com.

Find more columns by Luke here.

— Last week, I called out the student sections at all three Routt County schools.

I challenged them to make their respective gyms hell to play in, not the borefests they seemingly had become. I didn’t think anything would come of it besides the half dozen conversations I had this week where I was called an idiot. That’s fine. I’m usually an idiot.

But I was wrong.

The challenge has been accepted by Hayden High School.

Junior basketball player Aaron Kramer called me and told me the school and town has taken upon itself to make Tuesday’s opening round of the district tournament in Hayden quite the atmosphere.

Simply put, Hayden wants to make its gym hell to play in.

It won’t just be high school students. It’s extended to the middle and elementary schools and throughout the town.

It only gets better that Tuesday’s games will feature the Routt County Rivalry.

The Hayden girls play Soroco at 5:30 p.m., and the boys play Soroco at 7 p.m.

It’s been a good week for all three student bodies. Friday’s Steamboat-Moffat County basketball game was the most well-attended and loudest of the year.

Soroco fans were loud Saturday at home.

So what will Tuesday bring?

First off, there will be a tailgate at 4 p.m. at the Hayden High School sponsored by Daddio’s Bar & Grille and The Hungry Dog.

Hayden is making it a “Blackout Game,” encouraging anyone that attends — outside of Soroco fans, of course — to wear black.

Those that don’t bring a black shirt can buy one of the 300 already purchased that will be for sale for $3.

There also will be prizes for Hayden’s best fan. Two students and one community member will be picked by yours truly.

“I really hope the fans come out and are ready to get on their feet as soon as the girls team starts,” said Kramer, who is helping spur the idea with student council. “I’m expecting it to feel like it’s a really big playoff game. It’s just bigger. Invite your aunts, uncles and second cousins. We’re hoping we can pack the gym completely.”

Now that’s what I’m talking about. That’s taking initiative. That’s the stuff to get your team and your fans fired up.

I can say I’m stoked for Tuesday. I can’t wait to see what happens, how each school responds and how many people show up.

I encourage anyone in Routt County to come out Tuesday.

It should be a good night of basketball, in an atmosphere finally fit for a rivalry game.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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