I already miss the Olympics

My Mountain View

Gregg DodderidgeAugust 16, 2012 

I don't know about you, I am bummed the Olympics are over. The games were great and the Brits out did themselves. I am half Greek and half English, so I sort of feel on top of the world.

It is great that at least some of the ancient Greek spirit lives on. My son once said, "Dad the Greeks were just like the Romans right?" It was the last time that sentence was ever uttered. I said, "Jake, the Greeks created sports exemplifying personal achievement and more cerebral man to man competition. The Romans created games of slaughter and ritual sacrifice. Whole populations of beautiful creatures do not exist in Europe thanks to the gladiatorial spectacle."

The Greeks were different. The discus, javelin, long jump, wrestling and boxing all required a high degree of mental prowess. That still exists today.

For me seeing two of the greatest Olympians ever were the highlights. The swansong for Michael Phelps was tremendous. Undisputedly the greatest Olympian achievement ever. Phelps also elevated his teammates and the USA dominated in an increasingly competitive pool.

Usain Bolt and the Jamaicans just blew up the record books. If you witnessed the 100 meter final, you saw the fastest race in human history. More sprinters ran under 10.0 in one race than has ever happened prior. Bolt is the greatest. At 6-foot, 5-inch, his huge strides allow him to take fewer steps to the finish line. Bolt has a great start, and his leg speed is as fast as smaller runners ... a lethal combination.

Jesse Owens was not able to repeat his three-gold performance at Berlin in 1936 because the 1940 Olympics were not held due to WWII. It would be safe to say that Owens would have had a legitimate shot at repeating, but we will never know.

There is a statistically improbability to Bolt and the Jamaican sprint dominance. The population of Jamaica is around 2.7 million. The United States is 300+ million. Wow. But Jamaica is also celebrating 50 years of independence from Great Britain. Great synchronicity.

Ready for fall sports

Fall is nearly here and as sad as I am about the ending for the Olympics, I am getting re-charged for fall sports in the Mountain Area.

Yosemite High cross country is first on my list. You thought it would be football. This is the greatest sports program in Badger history, bar none. They win so much and have for so many years it is taken for granted. Coach Ellen Peterson is entering her 27th year and has guided the boys and girls programs to many league titles. Petersen's girls have won 20 straight league titles. The program always brings a strong group of runners to the section where Petersen has won a couple of CIF titles. All the best to Badger Cross Country in 2012.

For as small a school as Yosemite is (Current enrollment is about 700), the Badgers field elite Central Section programs. Badger cross-country tops the list. Yosemite girl's basketball, volleyball, swimming and possibly track can be considered the other elite programs.

One program trying to return to elite level will be football. The road won't be easy, but the Badgers have the coaching staff to do it. Gone is former head coach Aaron Eames. It is still hard to fathom. Eames and staff brought Yosemite to elite status in D-III in the early and mid-2000s. Two of the key staffers now run the program.

Now, instead of competing in D-II or D-III, YHS will make their future football playoff runs in D-IV. A great job by Tammy Thacker. athletic director in successfully petitioning the CIF for this long-overdue adjustment.

There is no way YHS ever achieved its heights without two of Eames's staff that are now guiding the program. Head coach Kent Lincoln was an assistant at all program levels for 15 years. Lincoln played the game at a high level as a Badger and is a high level coach. His energy and enthusiasm will re-energize the program.

Assistant coach Erik Peterson is still here. Peterson also has an amazing resume. He played in Southern California in high school and at the University of San Diego. His defenses never got the credit for helping YHS win in the glory years. Peterson and Lincoln are competent in every aspect of the game and could have run programs most anywhere had they wanted to as did YHS graduate Bonner Cunnings. A part of the Badger program as a player and coach, he goes off and re-builds Fresno Christian and takes Lemoore to the D-II playoffs in 2011.

Seriously, coaching at Yosemite has always been solid. YHS needs more players. Last year, 25 initially suited up for football and 17 were left by playoff time. Again, it was a credit to the players and staff for putting together an amazing season. The game plan put together by Eames, Lincoln and Peterson for the Union game was tremendous. No one planned on Badger quarterback Harley Glines getting hurt after the first series. Union, the eventual state champions, would have had one of their toughest tests of the year against the Badgers.

Most of the seniors from last year are gone, so this will be a young team. Great coaching will be a key to success. That the Badgers are blessed to have.

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