Craig Everybody wants to win.
Coaches, players, parents - everybody involved in sports wants to taste victory.
But at what length will a parent, player or coach go?
The numerous sporting camps conducted by Moffat County High School coaches this summer raised question among some parents about where the line should be drawn between voluntary workouts in the off season and mandatory practice.
Lori Mann, mother of a graduated MCHS athlete, was the only parent interviewed for this story who commented on the record in opposition of the various off-season voluntary workouts.
She said she felt that a lack of a presence at "voluntary workouts" meant a decrease in the chances of her child making a team.
"I feel like it's too much," Mann said. "They don't enjoy their summer, because they feel obligated to go to all of them."
Article 23, Rule 2300.2 of the Colorado High School Activities Association handbook states: "No coach or school representative may directly or by implication direct a student to participate in competition outside of the competitive season as a condition to participating or otherwise influencing a student's opportunity to participate in any school sport."
MCHS girls volleyball coach, Brianna Montgomery, has put her team of summer volunteers through two camps this off-season, a move she said is geared toward getting the girls up to speed.
"Coaches, of course, strongly encourage these camps," Montgomery said. "I can't make any of these camps mandatory, but I do tell girls that I think that it is critical for them to be at these camps and that it's critical that they put the time in during the summer.
"If they don't want to come and they don't want to work as hard as everybody else there is - voluntary without being asked to - then they don't even need to be there."
CHSAA Assistant Commissioner Bert Borgmann said he's sees a few violations each year, but has never had a negative report or complaint filed against MCHS.
"Coaches basically can't say, 'If you want to make the basketball team at Moffat County High School, you have to play all year with us.'" They can't say that.
"They can't make that mandatory."
Borgmann said proving an infraction occurred is difficult.
"Basically, the school would have to help us with an investigation," he said. "But, in most cases, most people have a clear picture of what's right and what's wrong."
The Bulldogs football team hosted two voluntary camps this summer, a third is ongoing and a fourth camp begins Aug. 4.
"By no means do we tell players they have to attend a voluntary camp," football coach Kip Hafey said. "If you want to be a part of the Bulldogs football team, you better be at the mandatory practice Aug. 11, but all the other stuff we've been doing is totally voluntary. We encourage them to go, but we don't tell them they have to."
Borgmann said coaches who violate rules place the team and other teams within the program at risk of a CHSAA disciplinary action, such as probation or even a suspension of playoffs for a school year.
But, for that to happen, a report has to come from the school first.
Rick Penner, first-year MCHS Athletic Director, said he believes the coaches know what they are doing, and he trusts they are able to create a definitive line between voluntary and mandatory.
"They know what's good for the athletes and the team," Penner said. "Everything that we do is governed by CHSAA. I commend our coaches for putting in the time to make all these options available to athletes to get better. In season and out of season, they take the time to work with them.
"They all know the limits they have to stay within, and I'm confident their experience and knowledge guarantees they are following the rules."
The question not only lies within football and volleyball but arises in other sports, as well.
Cross country coach Todd Trapp instilled a voluntary once-a-week team meeting for his runners, during which he answers questions and hands out three-week training routines that can be worked on in runners' spare time.
"To be successful in any sport, especially running, you have to do some kind of summer training," Trapp said. "It's the best way to keep the team motivated. If you workout in the summer, you will definitely feel the benefits. I'm not saying you can't be successful if you don't, but it's harder work to get back into shape."
Of the coaches interviewed for this story, each said voluntary practices are there to give the athletes an opportunity to excel.
And, most of the time, athletes present at voluntary off-season workouts are the athletes who generally have the most success.
So, it's left up to the athlete on how much work he or she chooses to put in, coaches said, and the workouts are an outlet for them.
"In my view, you almost have to show up at the summer practices," Cena Carlson, mother of an MCHS athlete said. "Not because the coaches are telling them they have to, but because of the level of competition. If your kid is playing against a kid who has been working all summer, your kid better be working hard all summer, too.
"If they love their sport, they will do whatever they can to get better."
Mandatory practices for each of the six fall sports teams - boys golf, cross-country, rodeo, football, volleyball and boys soccer - begin Aug. 11.
Until then, it's practice if you want.
John Vandelinder can be reached at 875-1793 or firstname.lastname@example.org.