'Towel time' was fun time on the swim bus

Nov 26, 2013 By Craig Blumenshine, Staff Writer

Readers know that each week I sign off this column with, "Go Big Red".

And then I chuckle. Out loud.

While I hope that "Go Big Red" encourages our Riverton Wolverines and Lady Wolverines to fight with all of their might, to work hard in practice, and to compete with every ounce of courage and grit, I also see my high school swim team rolling toward our next swim meet in our yellow school bus with red towels draped over our heads.

And while we were at the meet, my memory sees my me waiting with my friends for our next swim heat with those same red towels covering our noggins.

Our high school swim coach was Donn Ritchie. Coach Ritchie also was a science teacher and track coach at Riverton High School and is now emeritus professor of educational technology at San Diego State University.

He believed red was a color of power and might. He surmised that if we draped a red towel over our heads, we would then be surrounded by a red aura, and that would give us the explosive edge we needed to swim our best.

I really looked forward to "towel time" and those last 40 minutes before we arrived at our next swim meet -- because I would get my football video game to myself. Under the cloak of the towel were me and my video game, which was a bunch of LED dots, representing either offensive of defensive players. The strategy of the game was to score, but to not leave any plays available for your opponent to match your last touchdown.

Coach Ritchie played with us. That old-school video game that was a bit larger than today's smart phone, along with the card game spades, gave us hours of entertainment on long bus rides.

But when we got close to Worland, or Cody or Rawlins, it was time to put on the towels. When we went to Lander, we draped ourselves in red from the moment we boarded the bus.

And then I got one more round of Matel Electronics bliss. My game had "Pro 1" and "Pro 2" settings. "Pro 1" was for the underclassmen.

Sorry, coach Ritchie. I never bought into the red aura thing. But I sure liked towel time.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Have a great sports week. Go Big Red!

Chuckle, chuckle.

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