John F. Russell: Meek unrivaled on court |

John F. Russell: Meek unrivaled on court

Steamboat Springs — Many things have changed since I first arrived in Steamboat Springs back in 1990. — Many things have changed since I first arrived in Steamboat Springs back in 1990.

— Many things have changed since I first arrived in Steamboat Springs back in 1990.

Boggs Hardware is gone, the ice-skating is inside and these days, jumping isn’t limited to winter.

When I came to Steamboat Springs to interview for a job with the Steamboat Pilot, I stopped by the Burger Express for a bite before trying to impress Dee Richards with my recently earned degree from the University of Colorado.

Stop by the old Express building these days and you can get your nails and hair done, but don’t expect to get fries or a hamburger.

I got the job, but many of the coaches that I met my first year as a reporter have also disappeared from Steamboat’s changing sports scene.

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I guess that’s to be expected, but luckily there are still a few reminders of the old days.

When the Steamboat Springs High School boys basketball team took the court for the first time this season, it was just like taking a walk down memory lane.

Sure, the game was played in a different gym and the players are different, but the man pacing back and forth in front of the home team’s bench hasn’t changed.

I was introduced to Kelly Meek shortly after I arrived in Steamboat Springs, and he left an immediate impression.

First off, he’s a top-rated coach who puts a competitive program on the court every year. But more important is the dedication he shows to his players and the love he expresses for the game.

He’s proof that students don’t need to be in a classroom to learn some of life’s most important lessons.

Meek might tweak an offense or make a few changes in his defensive schemes, but the most important lessons – the lessons he passes on to his players between the whistles – stay consistent.

He cares about who his players are, and where they are going in life. Sure, he likes to win and he wants his teams to be successful. But the main thing is that those players leave the game with a sense of what it takes to be a part of a team and a community.

His former players have gone on to become bankers, police officers and other valued parts of this and other communities.

I miss the days when I could head to the Express building at lunchtime for a burger, fries and soft serve ice cream. I also miss the personal friendly service I would get when I stopped by Boggs. And I’ll never forget how cool it is to go skating outside when the snow is falling. Throughout the years, the names of the players who have played for the Sailors have changed, but Kelly Meek’s passion for teaching the game he loves is still unmatched.

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