One of the things that attracts families to Durango is the large menu of opportunities offered for youths to develop new skills. These include outdoor pursuits, educational activities and athletic endeavors, and the children involved - as well as their coaches - in many cases dedicate themselves to high achievement. Two recent examples, the Durango Steamers Squirt hockey team - a group of 9- and 10-year-olds - and the Durango High School culinary team, give Durango reason to be proud.
The Squirts won the state championship tournament for their division, beating powerhouse teams from the Front Range in two upsets. The honor is significant in many ways - not least for the thrill it brought all the players, coaches and parents on the team. It was the first time any Durango hockey team from any level - 5-year-olds through high school seniors - has won a state championship, and the first time any team from Durango's division, the Rocky Mountain Youth Hockey League, has done so. The fourth- and fifth-graders deserve congratulations, as do their coaches.
In a far sweeter-smelling victory, the DHS chefs brought home their own state championship after beating their rival team from Vail in a 60-minute cook-off. The meal that gave the team the trophy was a far cry from the typical teen diet: Japanese sushi shots, an entrée of sumac-encrusted New Zealand king salmon and a dessert of ruby port-poached pear. The skills the students had to demonstrate in crafting such a menu are admirable at any age.
The achievements of the Squirts and the DHS culinary team are fine examples of what hard work, camaraderie and dedication can produce.
Congratulations to all involved.