Roger Marolt: Roger This
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
I tell you, inspiration is everything. There we were last Saturday night at the Glenn Frey and Joe Walsh concert in what I firmly believe is Snowmass Village, but I can’t prove it. What I mean is that I was there, no doubt, but as you know there exists no convincing evidence of where Snowmass Village begins or ends, or if it truly exists at all, right?
At any rate, the sky was a cold Coors clear with the air temperature a quadruple venti latte warm. The setting sun enhanced the vivacity of the living colors and cast autumnal shadows across the mountains that made the rock cliffs and pine forests of Burnt Mountain in the background stand out nearly as beautifully as they would have on a large-screen, 3-D, high-definition television set – it was that real!
I have often wondered if McDonald’s has sold a hamburger for every time Don Henley has sung “Take it Easy.” Whatever; when the Eagles Lite launched into it the effect on the crowd was palpable. There’s something about the idea of chilling out and not getting down about keeping seven girlfriends straight that really brings a crowd together. All of this, plus some beer, worked to lubricate my buddy Bill’s mind.
“You know,” he yelled above the music, piercing my eardrum in the process. “There are lots of people itching to be on the Chain Gang. It’s a good gig.” Bingo! and cha ching!
For those who don’t know, the Chain Gang is the group that marks the ball, holds the downs marker, and stretches the chains at Aspen High School football games. They are coveted positions that are harder to get than first tracks on Dec. 26. Basically, somebody has to die for a Chain Gang position to open up.
Bill was right, for once. We Chain Gang members are lucky. We have been together long enough that none of us can remember who died in order to give us our chances; but God bless them. We occupy the absolute best positions on the field for watching the games – for crying out loud, we get to stand in front of the coaches!
The camaraderie is pretty good, too. Just last Friday night, out of the blue, Tim started barking orders at the rest of us with a drill instructor voice. We couldn’t stop laughing. Every time I came close to getting it under control he’d shout something else and I’d lose it all over. Then there was the time Greg had to relieve himself during a critical fourth quarter. We convinced him to rush over into the nearby bushes the next time-out; nobody would see. In his haste, he forgot to take off his florescent orange vest so he might as well have been taking care of business at midfield. I could go on, but we work in measured increments.
Realizing our good fortune during last weekend’s concert, Bill decided that we needed to figure out a way to use it to spread love and make the world a better place. All right, all right … so really all we want to do is make a little cash for the Booster Club.
Here’s how (and this is completely unauthorized use and abuse of my official Gang member position, except for that Bill said I could do it. I haven’t cleared this idea with anyone so if your name appears below it is going to be a surprise. Oh well, you’re already a volunteer; here’s a little more meat on your plates):
What we are going to do is auction off honorary Chain Gang positions for the remaining home football games. There are only four left so we have to get on the sticks, so to speak. It’s going to work like this: If you are interested in being an honorary Gang member, contact Booster Club honchos Mary Ryerson at email@example.com or Erlinda Morehead at firstname.lastname@example.org during the week of a home game (Sept. 17 vs. Hotchkiss, Sept. 24 vs. Gunnison, Oct. 15 vs. Cedaredge, and Nov. 5 vs. Carbondale) and let them know how much you are willing to donate for the privilege. They will keep all bidders informed of bidding action until 4 p.m. Friday, when the highest bidder will be notified and losers consoled with a personalized e-mail (not to exceed two words).
If you are the winner, you will report to the visitors’ side of the field a half hour before the game, where you will find Gang members tossing a football and telling jokes. Here you will get your official Day-Glo orange vest (just to borrow) and game assignment. We’ll give you enough instruction so that you know what to do but will have no confidence doing it.
At halftime we’ll tease you mercilessly about something or other so that you feel like a regular. Then we’ll sneak over to the back of the concession stand where we get our “free” hamburgers. You can be the “lookout” if you want. I’ll point out Dawn Gordon, the head food concessionaire, so you can give us the signal if she looks like she’s on to us. While we’re sneaking our bites we can check out the souvenir table and, depending on how much you donated, maybe we can talk Nettie or Jeff Kremer into giving you a hat, T-shirt or a seat cushion, which, ironically, has a big red “A” on it. Sometime before or after the game Leah Moriarty, the unofficial photographer of Aspen High sports, will get shots of you in a headlock (complete with a noogie) by coach Sirko, which she will then e-mail to you free of charge.
Of course Bruce Johnson, the P.A. announcer, will introduce you to the crowd in a way that he thinks will cause the most embarrassment. And finally, we can head down to The Red Onion after the game, where somebody in the post-game celebration usually springs for a cold one for Gang members. It’s a package so simple and down-home that it ought to make anyone feel like it’s 1972 Aspen again. Remember, men are encouraged to bid, too!
It’s good, clean fun for a boost to the Booster Club. And if the whole thing doesn’t work out, don’t come crying to me. It was Bill’s idea.
Roger Marolt doesn’t want anybody to fret over the difficulty of doing this. If Greg Gerbaz can do it, anyone can … and he’s the boss! Contact Roger at email@example.com.