Melinda Mawdsley: Watch, then judge
June 18, 2005
The whack of a golf club striking the ball. The splashes of children playing in the pool. The arguments about whether Triple Crown is evil. Ah, the sweet sounds of summer have returned to Steamboat Springs.
When I moved here in mid-April three years ago, it essentially was mud season. Parking spaces were easy to find. The few open restaurants had no waiting lists, and the chips aisle at the grocery store hadn’t been raided.
I came to learn that many locals vacation during mud seasons to escape the brown and barren ‘Boat.
“Summer will be here soon enough, and the town will be packed again,” said those who remained.
“With who?” I asked.
“Triple Crown,” they responded. Some said the two words with a glimmer of hope, knowing businesses once again would be open. Some said Triple Crown as if the youth sports organization was the anti-Christ.
And that was my introduction to one of the most controversial topics in Steamboat. Almost everyone has an opinion about Triple Crown, but most people only share it if asked. The one thing I’ve learned when talking to people in favor of Steamboat hosting Triple Crown and those who are against it, is that few have attended any games.
My perspective on Triple Crown is derived from game coverage and interaction with parents, coaches and players, who — and this may come as a shock to some — aren’t evil at all.
Many are families on tight budgets. They travel in campers and in SUVs, hauling equipment and a love for baseball and softball. But mostly, they gush about the chance to be in Steamboat.
Look around. Who wouldn’t want to come here? Who wouldn’t want to escape the bustling life of the Front Range or the heat and humidity of the South for the chance to play baseball or softball at the base of a mountain for a weekend?
I grew up playing softball during scorching summers on diamonds next to Iowa cornfields. I would have begged my family to come here. I might have been a little louder than I should have been while staying at a hotel. I might have forgotten to throw away my gum wrapper, but that’s because I would have been a child. Every child in every town, including Steamboat, acts differently when out of town with friends. I doubt Steamboat families would cease traveling abroad if a country began to express displeasure with the American presence on their beaches.
I’ll leave talk of contractual obligations and extensions to the city and Triple Crown. In the meantime, I will continue to cover entertaining games, including games involving an increasing number of local players, as part of my job.
On more than one occasion, I’ve informed inquisitive mothers sitting next to me that not every local despises their families for being here.
I just don’t see evil inside a ballplayer spitting sunflower seed shells out of the gap in his or her mouth where teeth once were and eventually will be again. In this day and age, I don’t see this as a problem.