I’ve written it a few times in various other blog-posts-turned-columns in the Transcript’s sports section: sports time is all-but synonymous with family time in the Stucki household.
Even when it comes on the clock.
Following the Grantsville girls basketball game at Hillcrest on Thursday, I chatted with assistant coach Andrew Vera while waiting for a post-game interview.
I don’t remember exactly what we were saying to begin with, but it was quickly interrupted by someone slapping my hat down around my eyes. I stopped mid-sentence to brush the brim back to its proper position only to find a guy in a tie walking away laughing about the prank.
Andrew connected the dots quickly — why would this guy wearing a Canyons School District photo badge behave in such a familial manner, was that my dad? I filled him in on the rest. Yes, my father teaches and coaches a couple sports at Hillcrest. Yes, he’s got some immature pranks. Yes, this is where I graduated.
It kind of makes sense why everyone sees a Hillcrest Track and Field logo on my back while I walk the sidelines, doesn’t it? My dad gave it to me after he gave his athletes ample time and opportunity to buy out the supply — which he was sure to remind me of at the game.
Normally a Hillcrest bag is the perfect symbol of my objectivity at any games I cover. Tooele County schools will compete directly against Hillcrest teams in any sport about once or twice a year. Since Hillcrest jumps back and forth between the 4A and 5A classifications, I figure 3A fans around here wouldn’t really even care.
Even still, I felt the need to wear my bag logo-side-in at the Grantsville game, especially sitting by the McCluskeys. But once we got talking during that ugly first quarter, Cheree gave her permission for me to show my alum status proudly.
It was nice to watch the game with my dad in my old gym. He volunteers to work all the girls basketball games by running the ticket sales table like he did Thursday, so he didn’t watch the first half with me like he normally would.
But it felt like old times during the second half, the both of us commenting on which call was the right one, me laughing at his nerves after I told him Grantsville would come back in the second half, and the in-unison “wow” whenever a Cowboy player would hit a big 3-pointer or cut through the lane for an impressive basket.
My dad and I talked about how I have connections to both teams. I could call both Grantsville and Hillcrest my team for the same reason I can’t really name either to such a designation. I never had any allegiance to the girls basketball team while still in high school, though I always hoped they would win for nothing more than school pride. My feelings about Grantsville are similar — I’ve come to know and respect many in the program and any win they earn will make my articles easier to write, but I don’t have any emotional investment in their game outcomes.
I imagine many teachers, coaches, transfer athletes and journalists have similar experiences when they watch games at home with family members on assignment.
But I suppose not every family is so oriented around sports as mine is.
Tavin Stucki is a sports writer from Midvale, Utah, who hasn’t found a sport he doesn’t like. Send any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.