Today is the 81st anniversary of the Pearl Harbor bombing to force the US into the Second World War. With that in mind, I will do my favorite veteran. This person is not a staff member at Rangeview but was as important a part of my work as most of my faculty colleagues. Jim Gochenour and I coach together for many years. 2 sports and 2 schools later we are still very close I feel as much a part of his family. I hope he knows that he and his family are very important in our lives. Our coaching of baseball was an experience that survived dozens and dozens of students, many tournaments, and bus rides. Even during the years when we had to drive the bus. The time spent on the field can never be praised enough. Many hours prepping the field. Mowing, chalking, and rock collecting. The greatest hunt we went on every year was to find the plugs for the bases after a long winter. Our field was not perfect, square, or soft. We would time to see how long it took and some years were better than others. You would think 90 feet would be a good starting point but you would be very wrong. We also were amazing at making the field playable. One year the district said they had field dirt that we could use to level the infield. What we got was dirt from a hole they dug to build a school. We spent the next week finding rocks. We would do a scavenger hunt and not leave until the team had collected a five-gallon bucket full. We would carry ten to fifteen buckets every year. We coined a phrase and every player will know that we don’t play on the field of dreams but on the field of bad hops.
The best part was when our daughters went to school at Rangeview and would do an Ice Tea and Apple Pie run from Mcdonald’s. Jim had a player in his bus throw an orange out the window on a highway and got pulled over by a state trooper. I also loved that Jim’s wife Charlotte always had to get a picture of us while coaching, going to a Rockies game, and even just hanging out. We spent time laughing during summer baseball as we traveled around the RBI league in Denver and our trips to Coors Field sponsored by the Rockies. I think his best act of covering up was when I had my car broken into during a game. They stole the 5 dollars of change and made a mess but left a $500 video camera. Jim wanted to laugh so hard and he kept it in while I went on a rant. We did not like traveling to that field. The worst part was that we could see the parking lot and it still happened. The other reason was that the field was so bad that a kid slid into second and the sand was so deep that his foot was under 6 inches of sand and the umpire called him out. We yelled that he had to tag the player, not the dirt. We thought it was funny but the umpire did not. This is only the start. Jim will re-appear as the blog gets into my years coaching baseball. Without Jim, it wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun. 15 years down the line we are still trying to decide which one was the responsible adult. Please don’t ask our wives!