One of my favorite things about my job is the familiar relationship I get to develop with the teams at Moffat County.
Since it’s the only high school I cover, I can follow everything that’s happening in every sport, from the game results to the teams’ chemistry and beyond. Wherever else I work in my life, it won’t provide me with the same kind of access and familiarity I have with the Bulldogs.
The best part of this, without a doubt, is dealing with the athletes. Almost across the board, they are a perfect, hilarious mix of surly teenager (usually after a loss) and maturing young adults. I see them at practices splitting time between goofing off and working hard. I talk to them most days of the week and watch them take all kinds of games seriously.
So it was great to be at the Dude Dent Award dinner, where a few of the athletes I’ve had fun working with the past two years were recognized for their athletic and academic achievement throughout their four years at MCHS.
Brenna Ciesco, Kelly Knez, Jazmine Swindler, Taft Cleverly, Jesse DeMoor and Sheldon Greenwood were six awesome choices by the Bulldogs coaches as finalists for the award. Since athletic excellence was one aspect of the nomination process, all six students are ones I’ve watched many times and spoken with on several occasions, as well.
They’re all terrific competitors and leaders on the field or court, but what sticks out to me is their maturity surrounding a game. I’ve interviewed them leading up to an important contest, as well as after thrilling wins and brutal losses. In any one of those situations, but especially after a loss, I’m probably annoying to deal with. But every time, without even a sigh or roll of the eyes as I walk up, those athletes have been gracious in talking to me.
They really listen to the questions and come up with thoughtful responses, not the stuff they hear on SportsCenter every morning. They’re always patient as I stumble through the question I’m trying to ask and honest in their answers.
Congratulations to all six on incredible high-school careers (some of which aren’t over for another month) and thanks for making my job that much better.
Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@CraigDailyPress.com.. Follow him on Twitter at @CDP_Sports.