Reasons to be proud

Dear Editor:I cannot describe the pride and the emotions felt by all the parents of the Aspen High School hockey team this last weekend. Considered one of the smallest schools in the state, it was no small feat for them to be in the running for the overall Colorado State Hockey Championship title. Parents, school officials, relatives, teachers, news crews and families made the snow laden trek to the Denver Coliseum to watch the State Hockey Championship games last Friday and Saturday.It was a story of “little school competes against large metropolitan school with carefully selected teams.” Aspen won Friday night with a score of 6-3. Aspen dominated the entire game! But, the true challenge was yet to come …Saturday night against Ralston Valley, an undefeated 5A school, Aspen started out slow – kind of like molasses. Barely breathing, Aspen parents watched as Aspen scored one goal at the end of the first period. The shouting and screaming was deafening, but quickly quieted in anticipation of the next move. The game continued for two more periods with hopes that the other team would not score a goal. The agitated Aspen crowd – squirming, biting nails and checking the clock every five seconds watched as the team experienced torn shoulders, a dislocated knee cap and hard hits. We all knew that no matter what happened these boys were champs in our minds.The second period and third period were filled with shots on goal by both teams, but to no avail. As the third period progressed, so did the tension, the penalties and the shots on goal by the opposing team. Again, constantly watching the clock, Ralston Valley was unable to score a goal. Our goalie was AMAZING! The buzzer went off and so did the crowds. By golly, ASPEN WON!!!We are all so happy for our kids and feel extremely gratified as parents, for after thousands of hours and miles on the road, countless hotel rooms and cold hockey rinks, 6 and 7 a.m. games on a Saturday morning in Podunk, Colorado – it all paid off in this one moment. Yes, I am so proud I am crying. I am proud of a team that was fighting one another in the beginning of the season and now would give the shirt off their backs for each other. I am proud, because no matter how much pain each kid was in, he would not quit playing. I am proud because these kids have worked so hard and for so long for this “once in a lifetime” moment. I am so proud because I have the honor of knowing 22 of the most upstanding, classy young men in Aspen – and one of them is my son.Many thanks to so many of you who made this moment a reality: Al Butler, Chris Lochrem, John McBride, Rick Newton, John Olson, Charlie Anastas and countless others. Thanks for your time and dedication toward our kids!Liz MeansAspen