If I’m not there, consider yourself lucky

Posted 11/19/09

I’m always getting tips on big games I should be attending. But me being at these games isn’t always a good thing. I used to write for the Rocky …

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If I’m not there, consider yourself lucky


I’m always getting tips on big games I should be attending.

But me being at these games isn’t always a good thing.

I used to write for the Rocky Ford Daily Gazette through the early 2000s. During a couple of those years, I covered the Rocky Ford High School Meloneers athletics teams and some of their dismal seasons in a variety of sports. The football team was winless. Softball couldn’t get past districts. Girls basketball had no players of size, and the boys were simply too young. The wrestling team was quality but never had a decent shot at the state title while I was there. Baseball had a roster of kids too scared to swing the bat.

After I left that community and took to other ventures in Switzerland, I kept track of those teams while I was overseas via the Web. To my surprise, almost each of them had turnaround seasons, complete with the football team having gone undefeated but losing in the first round of the state playoffs. Meloneers softball has since become a staple of the Class 3A state championship tournament.

I almost started to feel bad, or at least cheated. Why couldn’t I have been reporting sports there when there were good things to write about? You can only put a positive spin every week of a 0-9 football season so many times before a sports writer is tempted to throw himself on a rusty nail. But as soon as I leave, the football team goes undefeated?

After I returned stateside, I saw the Meloneers baseball team was putting together a stellar season. I drove down to see a couple friends one particular weekend and figured I’d swing by the diamond and see Rocky Ford play.

The Meloneers were up 6-0 against Fowler, I believe it was, when I walked up on the chain link fence where the rest of the “good ol’ boys” would watch the game. They recognized me and welcomed me back; however, the moment I got there, Rocky Ford started to tank and gave up five runs in two innings. In the top of the seventh, they fell behind 7-6. One of the good ol’ boys turned to me and said, “Well, thanks for coming by Benn. I know you’re busy, so I guess you better leave.”

They suspected it too. I was a jinx. At least for Rocky Ford. Good thing I left.

A couple years later, Rocky Ford wrestling made a huge offensive for the Class 2A state championship. With four grapplers in the finals and a commanding lead in the points, two of the four Meloneers won their finals, while the other two did not. Guess which finals matches I got to watch? Yep, the ones that eventually cost them the title.

Paonia’s heavyweight, a senior in his only year of wrestling, needed a pinfall to nab the state title from Rocky Ford. He did exactly that. Guess who watched the whole thing? Me. I did it to Rocky Ford again.

Now obviously, I’m not a total jinx. Since I’ve been with CCN sports, I’ve been on the sidelines while Douglas County High School football won the 2005 state championship from Mullen, while Ponderosa won many of its consecutive wrestling titles and while Littleton won both state track titles last Spring. However, there are a couple of coaches in the South Metro area I’m sure would rather see me elsewhere during the big games.

About four seasons ago, I earned no less of a fan than Chaparral softball coach Joe Bilello. Of course, we joke about it now, but the stigma of the Wolverines losing only the games I showed up to has stuck even now. I think it was the following season, Chaparral made it to the state softball championships and lost in the first round. And of course, I was there.

When I walked up to coach Bilello to get comments, the first thing out of my mouth was, “It wasn’t me! I stayed away from you guys this entire post-season until now, but it’s not my fault.” Like I said, we joke about it now, but it’s a joke that continues to come up.

I was starting to think I had the same effect on Ponderosa soccer in the playoffs. Ever since they made the final four a few season ago, they hadn’t gotten out of the first round with me standing on the sidelines. I stayed away this last post-season for them, and they at least made it to Round 2.

Nonetheless, if a big game is coming up and you want me to show up, first make sure I’m not on a cold streak. If I am, be glad I stayed away and sent someone else to do the work for me.

Benn Farrell is the senior sports writer for Colorado Community Newspapers.


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