Jun 5, 2012 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff WriterMy brother and I used to take our letters for Santa to my grandpa because we knew he had that special connection to the Big Guy.
In his back yard every winter, he would place our lists on the fire to translate our desires into smoke signals, say "hocus pocus" and some other magic words, and the rising smoke would begin to drift right to the North Pole, he told us. It always seemed to work just like he said.
But it's been awhile since I've made a wish list.
Time to get out the pencil and paper and jot down our wishes for the new activities director at Riverton High School, whomever he or she may be.
Here we go!
- Let's get rid of the digital scoreboard flag at Wolverine Field and place a new flag pole somewhere in the stadium to stand high and tall. I feel odd when I say the Pledge of Allegiance and salute the Daktronics scoreboard where a digital flag is displayed, which is what we did during soccer this past season. When the national anthem is played, I want to see an American flag. Old Glory, even if it's over at the Alternative School, would be an improvement.
- Riverton High School has retired just one athletic jersey, that of the RHS and University of Northern Colorado quarterback great Corte McGuffey. It's time we retire a second.
Kristen Newlin is the Riverton girls all-time leading scorer, leading rebounder, leading shot blocker, was the two-time Wyoming Gatorade Player of the Year, had a great collegiate career at Stanford, is playing professionally in Turkey and will make that country's Olympic team if Turkey qualifies. At the time of her graduation, opposing coaches rated her as the greatest high school girls player in Wyoming history (and she also won three state swim championships). She deserves to have her RHS number 43 retired.
- While we are on the basketball theme, let's make sure Riverton plays Lander twice each year in the sport. In recent years, our one game a season hasn't seemed like enough. If the Wolverines continue to have trouble filling the week between Christmas and New Year's with basketball games, lets make a Riverton-Lander battle on two consecutive nights a holiday tradition now that the Fremont County Shootout has faded. I would love that.
- And, let's make sure our volleyball girls also get two cracks at their cross-county rivals.
- Here's a tough one. Let's go all-in and make it a priority to get more student and community involvement at our high school games. Shoshoni has more students and fans at some of its games than RHS does. Let's work to change that.
- I remember spending time when I was a little kid looking at the pictures of former RHS all-state athletes in the lobby of the gym at the old Riverton High School. We looked up to those guys, and we wanted to perform just like them. Today, it is difficult for our kids to see the faces and names of the former RHS greats because their pictures are tucked away in a trophy case out of sight -- and usually blockaded -- of fans that come to Wolverine Gym.
If we can't rearrange them to a place that is right outside of the gym for all to see, then let's digitize them for display. They could also be broadcast on message displays in the hallways and weight room, too, for a little added motivation.
My apologies Big Guy, this is a long wish list.
- Seems like the entire state still pays lip service to its goal of maximizing in-class time for our student athletes. Riverton should look long and hard (and maybe say no) to those mid-week travel games.
- Lets keep attracting tournaments, and keep our discipline standards high as well.
- And one of my biggest pet peeves has to make the wish list. What are our school colors? How many shades of red can our uniforms, fields and gyms possibly have? At RHS, the answer is "too many."
Plus, what is our school logo? Is it a paw print? Is it an 'R'? Is it both? Should we have a 'W' on our hats (football) or an 'R' (everyone else)? Let's design and settle on one color, one font style and one logo and wear it proudly all over Wyoming.
- One final wish, and it's a biggie. Let's ask our new activities director to make sure that our high school coaches, middle school coaches and players and even our younger recreational league sports leaders are all on the same page when it comes to mentoring a winning agenda. It's time to make sure all of our sports and activities are vertically integrated. It can be done.
C'mon, Big Guy. My list is coming to you early this year. Hocus pocus.
Have a great sports week! Go Big Red!
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