Fall season will live in memory at HRV

Sports commentary - November 20

The fall sports season at Hood River Valley is finally in the books, but oh what a run it was.

Three teams and two individuals put HRV on the state sports map for the better part of three months, and it would be unceremonious of us to move onto the next season without recounting their achievements one by one.

No doubt that fall 2002 will go down in valley history as one of the best sports seasons of all time. Two teams (girls soccer and football) accomplished school firsts by winning in the playoffs; another team (boys soccer) matched a school best by reaching the state quarterfinals; and a certain elite runner (Christy Paul) grabbed a fifth-place medal at state.

And then there was Jacobe Krizman, the new state rushing record holder. Unbelievable. That’s the word I’d choose.

Other schools should be so lucky to have such a lengthy list of athletic feats in a single season. As I have said before, so should other small-town sports writers. I mean, what could be more fun that writing about winning, winning, winning all the time?

Unfortunately, the fun had to end somewhere. But when the final tally was made, I had written just four losing stories over the entire fall season (two for football and two for boys soccer; a freelancer assisted me on the girls’ only loss of the season).

You won’t hear a single complaint out of me, because I know how things used to be. From what I hear, the six-year transition into class 4A has been a long, winding road to say the least.

Reaching this level of excellence has been a process for the HRV athletic programs, and I feel very fortunate to have arrived right when things are starting to turn themselves around. In a way, it’s like a high-school revival for me.

Plenty of disappointments linger from my days at Roosevelt High School in Seattle. Lots of 50-point losses in football. A few 60-point losses in basketball. A wrestling team that barely had enough kids to stay afloat. A cross-country team full of names I didn’t recognize.

The soccer teams were always competitive, but I don’t recall many playoff wins. Get in, get out. That’s the RHS playoff motto even today.

In fairness to my alma mater, the Roughriders have had some success over the years. The 1988 state runners up in basketball also won the Metro Conference during my senior year (1992), and produced talented college players such as Peter Dukes (Stanford), Willie Brantley (Oregon State) and Mike Greene (Western Washington University).

But, despite a few isolated triumphs, my memories of high school sports aren’t even about the games themselves. There didn’t seem to be a whole lot to cheer about, so it was easy to relegate those memories to the backburner.

I’m sure many others harken back to their high school days, and are unable to recall the name of their school’s star running back or standout cross-country runner. They have no playoff memories to speak of, and will never recall season records like 9-2, 10-1-5, or 13-2-2.

Hood River Valley sports have taken a distinct turn for the better during this monumental fall season. I sure hope the students realize how good they’ve got it, because countless other schools and athletes never get a chance to live this kind of glory.

Winning isn’t everything, but it sure is fun.

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