Luke Graham: Truly great teams are rare |

Luke Graham: Truly great teams are rare

Luke Graham

Luke Graham

— It shouldn't come as any surprise, but it always seems to.

When you attend and cover enough athletic events, there is a sort of rhythm learned. It's not a rhythm of going to the games; it's a rhythm of knowing the teams.

When spending this past week looking back at the history of the Steamboat Springs High School football team, something stood out.

In Steamboat, maybe more so than other Class 4A schools, when a class or team makes the playoffs and advances, it truly is a unique thing.

Relatively smaller schools with 600 to 1,000 students fall in that gray area. It's not like smaller schools where a team can be dominate in one sport because that's all there is to do.

It's certainly not like a huge school where coaches have hundreds of students to whittle down to a team.

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No, there are big challenges in a place like Steamboat.

There are tons of sports and opportunities that dilute the talent on teams. Concerns of depth tend to show up more.

When one class of students decides not to play, like what happened with the football team, there are huge obstacles to overcome.

I suppose what looking at the football team really said was when a team is highly successful — defined by advancing in the playoffs or making it to state — it's a huge accomplishment.

In my time here with Steamboat athletics, I haven't seen the volleyball team advance past districts. The basketball teams rarely gets past the first round of the playoffs. The lacrosse team hasn't gotten past the first round. The baseball team hasn't made the playoffs. And the hockey team has struggled to make it past the first round.

This isn't to dismiss these teams. I've enjoyed watching teams be successful and make the playoffs.

But it's understanding when a team does advance in the playoffs — like the soccer team this fall or past football teams — it's a unique accomplishment.

Athletics in Steamboat are a different animal. It's a small Class 4A school that will produce good athletes and good teams that generally are competitive in leagues.

But in Steamboat, producing that one great team or player is truly a special accomplishment.

— To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email

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