A little over a month ago Diane and I decided to spend most of Veteran's Day Weekend at our Soda Springs house. Soda Springs is a little community--about 96 full time residents--just a couple of miles from Donner Pass, and our house is among the Serene Lakes with our backyard being the Tahoe National Forest at almost 8000 feet in altitude.
With Diane in the throes of trying to finish off her undergrad degree at Davis, and the baseball season chewing up a lot of my summer, we don't get away to the house nearly as much as we would like. And, it is always so wonderful--not to mention how lucky we feel--getting up there, for though we do have WiFi, we don't have much else. No TV, and challenged cell phones, at least. So it is a great respite.
There is also a really terrific radio station in Truckee that I discovered: 101.5 KTKE. KTKE has a really great play list--if they actually have one--by my reckoning, playing lots of roots music, with splashes of Richard Thompson and Bob Dylan and best of all, low key local commercials.
Truckee is about ten miles north of Soda Springs, and is the big town in the area. It is where the Safeway and Starbucks and DMV reside nestled in the Sierra, and while California is the most populated state in the Union by a long shot, you would never know should you hang around Soda Springs and Truckee. Truckee does have 16,154 residents per the 2011 census, but it still has "town" designation within the state.
Truckee also happens to have arguably the most successful high school football team in California, if not in the country, their Wolverines. Although, to be fair, because Truckee is so close to the Nevada border, along with South Lake Tahoe, they play in a Nevada-based conference, meaning the Wolverines record might not be so strong if they had to square up against a Los Angeles high school, where the student pool is probably more than ten times that of the entire state of Nevada.
Still, the Wolverines have won the State Division 1-A championships no fewer than 11 times, and have been been in the state championships the last five years, winning four going into next weekend where they will have another chance. This year the team went 10-1, scoring 425 points while allowing just 110. The team's only loss was a 7-0 shutout to Fernley, a team whom the Wolverines exacted 47-13 revenge win over a couple of weeks ago, knocking that team out of the playoff hunt.
Most of the above would have been lost on me, but since KTKE is the official radio station of the Truckee Wolverines, I got to hear a lot of fun pre-game hype, during the five hours--a normal three-hour trek from our bay area home--we were in the car due to a couple of feet of snow dumped from Friday afternoon to Saturday. In fact, the bulk of the game Saturday must have been played on that ubiquitous frozen tundra, and though I was curious about the outcome, it was not nearly enough to coax me out of the house and fire and dogs and into the cold afternoon.
I did get the Sunday morning confirmation that the Wolverines had indeed emerged victorious and were again going to the championships, having beat Cheyenne (South Las Vegas) 26-18 to advance once more to the State finals 11/17, facing Moapa Valley. As I discovered this I could not help but do a little fist pump of quasi local pride, even if I am a carpet bagger of a fair weather supporter.
As we packed the dogs and our stuff into Old Yeller (that would be our blue Ford Explorer) yesterday it was a gorgeous morning in Soda Springs. Glistening snow and a blue sky with bright sunshine suggested it was a great day for the ski season to open (it actually happened Saturday when Boreal Ridge opened for the year) and we were sorry to have to head back for civilization.
I checked out the scores and my fantasy teams' Sunday activities on my IPhone while Diane drove us down out of the mountains. We listened to the Raiders get pasted by the Ravens for a while, and I mumbled more than a few times as I watched the horrible game of Eli Manning, one of two QBs on my starting roster of Kathy League Gifford (it is a two QB league).
But somehow my thoughts kept going back to the Truckee Wolverines and their fine achievements and it all made me smile in the best way. It is fun to feel part of a community. And this community loves their Wolverines, backing them, selling out their games, and so on. Which to me is what a community is supposed to feel like (It is equally fun to see kids succeed for any number of reasons other than an NFL contract).
Anyway, that local community feeling is how I became a Bears fan, travelling to Chicago for five years, and the plan was we would be home from the mountains in time for me to watch Chicago square up against the Texans Sunday night.
Go Bears! And of course, go Wolverines!