John F. Russell: Sharing the dream with your children
Steamboat Springs — I can still remember standing alongside a baseball field a few years back, listening to the parents in the crowd scream their children’s names and it seemed to me that they lived and died with each and every pitch.
I couldn’t help but feel that those parents must be out of their ever-loving minds to give up a perfectly good vacation to stand in the sun for six or seven hours and watch their children play a game.
How could they possibly want to come to Steamboat Springs when they could head to Vegas for the week, or possibly travel to Disney? Why in the world would they want to spend their hard-earned money on a condominium and then share it with half a dozen other families?
However, those days were long before my son was born. Those ideas were formed long before my daughter followed, and those two things have changed my views forever.
There is no question that I would do anything for my children, and if that means sacrificing a few days off the clock for them, then that’s what I will do.
These days those parents don’t seem to be completely crazy, and the idea of watching a child play a game with his or her friends in a town like Steamboat Springs — well maybe that could be fun.
I’m still not saying I would trade a week in Vegas or a little time with Mickey, but that’s why they give us more than a week’s vacation every year.
The last couple of years I’ve taken a few days off work to let my daughter play in out-of-town events. Normally, that means a few days in Denver, but last year, I did commit to a whole week in Arizona, so she could play soccer.
The realization is hard to accept, but I guess that I have become one of those crazy parents I used to see in the stands at Howelsen. I must say I had a pretty good time in Mesa, Arizona, but when it comes to places to spend a week watching your children play, my guess is that Steamboat Springs is at the top of most parents’ list.
This summer our town will host baseball families,softball families and soccer families. On Monday, I discovered that Steamboat is hosting a youth lacrosse tournament, so I guess I will have to add that sport to the long list of folks who travel to our town for sports.
The funny thing is, Steamboat has been bringing families to town for years. Skiers have been coming here in the winter for years, and families are nothing new to the summer landscape.
Last week, Triple Crown hosted a fast-pitch softball camp and tournament. I wasn’t surprised when I stopped to photograph one of the events that there were more than a few parents there to support the teams.
A few years back, I would have thought that they were crazy, but now, I see that they chose to come to Steamboat Springs and share an experience with their children.
Our mountain town is a place where children have always been a focus and have been encouraged to be active and healthy. They have chased their dreams across the world, and Olympic traditions are something that families here have been handing down for years.
Sure, this summer when I walk by a baseball field and hear the cheers from all those parents, I might think that they are a little crazy for a moment, but at least most of them understand that giving up a few days of PTO time to share in their children’s dreams is well worth the cost.
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Editor’s note: This story was updated at 10:29 a.m. on Oct. 27 to include information about Cam Boyd’ role in the acquisition of the ranch. STARS also offers tennis and pickleball in the summer.