MacGyver ’05: AHS baseball signs anthem
The roof of the Skier bus was leaking rain, and all the Aspen baseball team had in their possession was a first-aid kit, a catcher’s mask, and some eye black. Clearly, it was a matter of grave proportions. Questions with conflicting overtones began to arise: Would the team survive this stormy episode, or would everyone be soaked to the bone by the time the bus reached the playing field? Would the game be called off due to weather? How would Aspen compete without five veteran starters? How were Richard Dean Anderson’s locks so blond and flowing? Like the beginning of a MacGyver episode, the Aspen baseball team was presented with dubious circumstances and great challenges during the early moments of last Friday’s road trip to Debeque. On the verge of spring break – with a large portion of the team already tanning on sunny beaches in the Arcadian alps – Aspen looked to finish off its preleague competition with a momentum-stirring victory. However, the roof was riddled with holes, and Creedence’s “Who’ll stop the rain” clamored in their minds with more urgency than ever before. As it turned out, no one stopped the rain. Or even the game for that matter. But Aspen, friend to precipitation of all humors, knew that external forces would not be their biggest problem. Something deeper and much more complicated was at work. Nothing so simple as disarming a missile with a paperclip (Episode 001), or transforming a casket into a jet ski (Episode 012). Oh, no. They were dealing with the worst problem of all: Lack of faith.Luckily, MacGyver must have arrived in Debeque before the team, evidence resting in the functioning transistor radio, which he had amazingly fixed with the electrolytes from cactus juice (Episode 018). Thus, an old scratchy singalong recording of the national anthem was played at full blast over the loudspeakers as both teams took to their positions. Hats off, hands over the heart. Silence.What happened next would change the course of Aspen baseball history forever.”I think as we stood there listening to the national anthem,” recalled coach Rick Ryan, “we were all kind of wondering in our minds what our team was going to look like on the field. There were some nerves. But, one verse into the anthem, those nerves were gone as we all focused on what sounded like a cat being run over by the ‘Skier’ bus. We relaxed at that moment, and it carried over to the field.”We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s not over until the fat lady sings.” Well, replace “fat lady” with “something forever unidentifiable” and you’ve got something just as true, and just as amusing. The ice was broken, the nervousness was replaced by hilarity, and the outcome was determined even before the first pitch was under way. Senior co-captains Matt Fox and Pat Faurer led the charge for the Skiers. Fox went 2-for-2, with three stolen bases and two walks. He drove in three runs to top it all off. Faurer, one of the top infielder’s in the state, hit two doubles and picked up a pair of RBIs. Less typical for Aspen was how the younger players performed.”What was really exciting was seeing some guys contribute who hadn’t played much varsity leading up to the game. Jeff Lagrua made some key plays defensively, and Logan Thacker did good things at the plate for us. Throw in Travis D’Anna, a freshman, who had no idea he would even be playing in the varsity game – he was sitting in the bleachers during warm-ups – let alone score three runs, and you can see why we were thrilled to get this win,” Ryan said.Overall, Aspen scored 14 runs off 11 hits. Fox, now 2-1 on the mound, had nine strikeouts in five innings and gave up no earned runs. The final score was 14-3.”We are 3-4 going into break,” Ryan said. “That may seem like nothing to most fair-weather teams, but when all you won the previous year was three games, there is cause for hope. Now league play begins, and every game counts. When we come back from break we will find out if we are contenders, or pretenders.”Aspen’s next game – and first league game – is Tuesday at 4 p.m. in Cedaredge.Author’s note: Local lore has it that coach Ryan – AHS ’84 – was blessed, as a young buck, with a head of hair that would put MacGyver’s weave to shame. If you don’t believe it, go check out his portrait at Boogies, located on the wall next to the restrooms. Some call it a mullet. Others call it a gift of God. Either way, it’s a heck of an icebreaker.
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