Power of chocolate
October 1, 2005
Steamboat Springs — Never underestimate the power of a chocolate bar.
When members of the Steamboat Springs High School golf team travel to Wellshire Golf Course in Denver this week, coach Steve Dodson might just pack a few extra chocolate bars for motivation.
He has learned in the course of the season that the best way to motivate his team — especially top golfer Paul Berry — is to offer its members candy bars from time to time.
At practice last week, Dodson sounded more like Willy Wonka than a golf coach.
He offered a candy bar to the first player to hit a golf ball inside a target set roughly 75 yards away.
He followed it up by jokingly offering Berry an opportunity no candy-lover could refuse.
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Dodson offered him 18 chocolate bars if the Sailor could birdie all 18 holes on the opening day of the state golf tournament.
It took Berry only a few swings to find the inside of the practice-range target, and I wouldn’t bet against him when he tees off at Wellshire on Monday to kick off the state tournament.
Luckily for Dodson, I don’t think Snickers, Kit-Kats and Milky Ways are on the list of banned performance-enhancing drugs.
If I were Dodson, I would head to Sam’s Club before the Colorado High School Activities Association discovers his tasty little secret, and there is no way I would show up for Monday’s opening round with anything less than a couple of cases of chocolate motivators.
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a player get jazzed for something as simple as a chocolate bar, but it is about the only thing I’ve seen Berry and his peers on the team get excited about.
After winning the regional title last week, Berry didn’t celebrate by running around the green. He simply took off his hat, gave his opponent a heartfelt smile and shook his hand. I don’t think Berry would have done anything different — not even for a Whatchamacallit.
On the course, Berry and teammates Tucker Campbell, Michael Weston and Cody Fritz are steady. They don’t get upset when they miss shots, and it’s rare for them to display more than a smile when playing well.
But offer them a chance to take a chocolate bar from a coach, and this team comes to life quicker than a Reese’s Fast Break.
It’s the type of team that will go the extra mile for something as simple as 100 Grand — the candy bar, not the money in Dodson’s bank account.
Sure, the Sailors would be thrilled to bring home a state title this week. The stakes will be a little bigger than a box of candy, but who would blame the players for wanting to score a Skor for a solid round of golf.
Maybe that’s why Steam–boat’s golf coach never underestimates the power of chocolate.
— To reach John F. Russell, call 871-4209 or e-mail jrussell@steamboat pilot.com