Sports fans and athletes had ample to choose from over the weekend with a myriad of wintery contents taking place all up and down the valley. Some families, like mine, were balancing multiple tournament schedules and games, a challenge not recommended but sometime necessary.
Beginning early on Friday morning, the Great Outdoor Classic (U12 hockey) faced off at the Winthrop Rink and ended in some duck chasing that evening. You read that correctly, duck chasing. While there were countless hours of puck chasing over the three-day tournament, an unexpected feathered fellow fell from the sky Friday night stopping play on the ice.
The mallard duck apparently dropped in from a wintery snow blast and halted the game between Whatcom and Palouse. The stunned and disoriented bird was escorted off the ice by officials and waddled across the field back towards the river after the crowd and rink staff guffawed at the incident. Only at the Outdoor Classic could such a spectacle ensue. Thankfully, here in the Methow we are accustomed to strange and unexpected wildlife incidents. Our U12 finished 10th overall out of 12 teams, with an amazing 2-2 tie game Saturday morning.
Sandwiched between hockey games, the Schkrohowsky family managed to also compete in the Ski to the Sun Marathon relay race. Son Emil, and daughter Marta, both played hockey in the morning, jumped in the car to their respective relay spots, put on skis and raced off to meet their fellow family members on the trail. Their mom Cynthia mastermind the entire exchange and logistics, and both kids were back at the rink to play again at 3:30 p.m. after completing the ski race.
Balancing multiple games and schedules didn’t faze the Blank family of Twisp either. Sixth-grader Gavin Blank squeezed in a basketball game against Brewster between hockey matches with my fifth-grader Quin. Later that evening, his mom, Beth Blank, headed off to Spokane to coach the U14 Club Volleyball team in a tournament.
Speaking of basketball, the fifth-grade girls team coached by Katie Hover had an incredible game against Brewster. The fans were beating on the bleachers and getting a little rowdy down to the last second as the Lady Lions fought hard to defend their one final victory point. Feisty and scrappy got the job done, and if this was a foreshadowing of the future Liberty Bell Lady Lions, there will be some good basketball games in the near future as these young athletes polish their game.
Meanwhile, up at the Loup Loup Ski Bowl, the annual Wolf Chase welcomed in teams to the course from all over the Cascades. This year’s Loup Loup Ski Team has a lot of fresh faces to the slopes, so while our little racers were there in good spirits and gave it their best, few ribbons and trophies were taken home by our local wolf pup pack. One exception was 7-year old Mabel Hazard Grayum of Twisp, who came in fifth overall for U8 — not bad for a skier who had the flu all week and only one weekend of practice! The Stevens Pass Alpine Club swept most events. Next year with a little more snow under our skis, the Loup team will hopefully shave off some time and we’ll see a few more smiling faces on the podium.