Letter: Coach Clapper’s team
November 1, 2014
Coach Clapper's team
I only got coached by Willard Clapper one day, but I remember it well. Early 1970s, I was a 13-year-old from Basalt who came up valley to try out for the baseball team because we didn't have enough kids in Basalt.
It was shortstop fielding practice and coach was making it tough. I stood in line not knowing anyone and waited my turn. No one ahead of me made a good play on balls that were stinging off the fungo bat. My turn, when the ball came off the bat I remember thinking, "oh s—" just before the ball glanced off my lip and chin and fell in my mitt and I threw a strike to first. "Whoa, whoa, whoa!" Coach yelled and marched toward the group — uh oh. "Hey, damn it, you guys wanna see some toughness? Look at this kid from Basalt," he barked as his eyes flashed at the kids he knew, then back at me. "What's your name, kid?"
"Good job Rather, now come on, damn it, you guys get tougher."
For different reasons I didn't play for Aspen that summer, but that was OK because I knew I'd made the team — Coach Clapper's team.
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