This past Saturday, as I made my way up to the box at Braves Field, I was met with two sets of officials, school administrators, coaches from two schools and anybody else who could cram their way into the tiny space to escape what was outside.
The “what” was a typical Wyoming May blizzard which was changing the rules on a sporting event. It was decided by the powers that be that the soccer matches between visiting Cody and Star Valley would be delayed while waiting for the snow to subside or melt or continue to pester us.
Nobody was very happy about it. The Cody folks were a long way from home, the coaches were trying to warm up their players, the officials had other matches later that day to attend and the administrators were trying to walk that line of doing what was best for the task at hand.
So as yours truly reset the dwindling game clock to reflect an additional hour of waiting, you could almost hear the collective groans of parents in cars and under shelter around the facility.
Then something started to happen.
Those same administrators, coaches, parents and even students who had no official capacity at the matches, found some shovels and started to clear off the lines. First the out of bounds lines and the goalie box. I thought this is where it might stop. After all, I’ve seen snow melt on the turf in 10 minutes if Mother Nature would just cooperate.
This group wasn’t waiting. What started out as lines, turned into the entire south end of the field, which then turned into the north end of the field. By this time, there was a small army of volunteers with shovels. Some big, some standard and some so small I wasn’t sure where they came from.
As the clock ticked down it turned into a party. Junior varsity players played a hybrid of football and soccer, much to the amusement of the officials still hunkered down upstairs. There were a half-dozen spontaneous snow angels and a team scoop shovel impression by nearly half of the Braves starters as they cleared swaths of the field five yards wide at a time. Oh, and snowmen? You better believe it.
In other words, it was community at its best.
I was reminded of a story I came across in the Independent 50+ years ago when the Braves football team, along with Coach Monsen, the staff, parents, residents and anyone who could pitch in, covered the entire field with straw in anticipation of a big snowstorm. After it hit, the Department of Transportation used their equipment to push off the field so that the game could still be played that Friday.
Sometimes in my advancing years I am guilty of mistaking nostalgia for actual product. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s made the statement that “back in my day” things were better. The water was cleaner, the kids were more respectful, the mind set was more focused and the community as a whole was more united.
Well, I’m here to say that this community is doing just fine. It’s not perfect and it wasn’t perfect years ago. But the goodwill of those that live here and in this area are as interested in capturing the Rockwellian feeling as ever before.
So whether you helped spread straw back in the 60’s to salvage a field for a football game, or you worked until you couldn’t lift your arms this past weekend pushing snow, you can be assured that it was a time that is and will be remembered. Yes there were games afterwards, but the memories were made before the whistle even blew.