Up and down el Rio Blanco: Staying positive when losing

My wife asked me the other day if I thought the world was upside down. Even after spending a weekend watching several losses, I quickly replied “no.” I’m not sure I convinced her but I didn’t hesitate when I answered, because although there were losses over the weekend, I saw a lot of friends and family along the way, which keeps my spirit and world upright.
I traveled to Denver last weekend to watch our local high school basketball teams play in regional tournaments, then to Colorado Springs to watch a former local graduate wrestle in an NCAA Division I regional tournament. On the way home, my wife contacted me about the loss of one of my favorite people.
Friday I went to watch the Rangely girls’ and boys’ basketball teams play at the University of Denver. Eight regional tournaments were being played around the state, Meeker’s boys’ and girls’ teams  were playing at the same time, in the same city, about 30 minutes north of where the Rangely teams were playing. Each regional tournament featured four teams in each gender bracket, only the champion of each would advance to the “elite eight,” the state tournament held in Pueblo.
Both Rangely teams lost Friday but as I was walking out to my vehicle, I saw someone walking up the sidewalk, bundled up with a hockey stick strapped to her back.
“Kandice,” I said.
“Hey Bobby, what are you doing here?”
It was Kandice Torno, many of you may remember her. She used to live in Rangely and worked for the rec. district and CNCC. Kandice is very athletic and a talented photographer who used to submit photos and articles to the Herald Times.  She was playing goalie for a Steamboat Springs team against a DU team that night. The chance meeting took my mind off the losses and made me smile, keeping my world upright.
I had gotten word that the Meeker boys also lost but the Meeker girls won and would be playing in the championship game the next day.
My daughter Haylee and her family, which include two beautiful grandchildren, live in Fort Morgan and were going to be in Denver Saturday, so we made plans to meet before the Meeker girls tipped off. Well, they got a late start and I got lost trying to find the school (Standley Lake High School), where Meeker was playing, we had to postpone our meeting so I wouldn’t miss the game.
Meeker lost the game and I got lost again trying to meet up with Haylee but they found me and we got to spend a little time together. Once again, keeping my world upright.
I then drove to Colorado Springs and spent the night with my in-laws, which I honestly enjoyed. My oldest grandson lives with his mother in Colorado Springs and Sunday morning his mom dropped him off and the two of us drove to the United States Air Force Academy to watch Joe Leblanc, who wrestles for the University of Wyoming, compete in the Western Regional tournament. We watched Joe win his semifinal match. I took my grandson home and came back to watch Joe lose in the championship match. Joe, a two-time All-American, will still compete in the NCAA Division I national tournament in Pennsylvania next week. And I got to spend time with my oldest grandson, so my world is still upright.
Traveling home with my lifelong friend Tad Sullivan, a sign at the junction of I-25 and C-470 said westbound I-70 was closed at Silverthorne, so we decided to spend the night in Denver. Coming home Monday, my wife texted me that our friend Judi Brown had passed away. Judi lost a long, hard-fought battle with cancer but left her kindness and wit behind, with two wonderful grown children, several grandchildren and many memories. What a special lady she was, I miss her already, but I will always remember her.
When I did finally get home, I walked into our coffee shop and running toward me was my other grandson, the only grandchild I hadn’t seen over the weekend.
“Pop Bob,” he said, before giving me a big hug, lifting my spirit and keeping my world upright.

By BOBBY GUTIERREZbobby@theheraldtimes.comMy wife asked me the other day if I thought the world was upside down. Even after spending a weekend watching several losses, I quickly replied “no.” I’m not sure I convinced her but I didn’t hesitate when I answered, because although there were losses over the weekend, I saw a lot of friends and family along the way, which keeps my spirit and world upright.I traveled to Denver last weekend to watch our local high school basketball teams play in regional tournaments, then to Colorado Springs to watch a former local graduate wrestle in an NCAA Division I regional tournament. On the way home, my wife contacted me about the loss of one of my favorite people.Friday I went to watch the Rangely girls’ and boys’ basketball teams play at the University of Denver. Eight regional tournaments were being played around the state, Meeker’s boys’ and girls’ teams  were playing at the same time, in the same city, about 30 minutes north of where the Rangely teams were playing. Each regional tournament featured four teams in each gender bracket, only the champion of each would advance to the “elite eight,” the state tournament held in Pueblo. Both Rangely teams lost Friday but as I was walking out to my vehicle, I saw someone walking up the sidewalk, bundled up with a hockey stick strapped to her back.“Kandice,” I said.“Hey Bobby, what are you doing here?”It was Kandice Torno, many of you may remember her. She used to live in Rangely and worked for the rec. district and CNCC. Kandice is very athletic and a talented photographer who used to submit photos and articles to the Herald Times.  She was playing goalie for a Steamboat Springs team against a DU team that night. The chance meeting took my mind off the losses and made me smile, keeping my world upright.I had gotten word that the Meeker boys also lost but the Meeker girls won and would be playing in the championship game the next day.My daughter Haylee and her family, which include two beautiful grandchildren, live in Fort Morgan and were going to be in Denver Saturday, so we made plans to meet before the Meeker girls tipped off. Well, they got a late start and I got lost trying to find the school (Standley Lake High School), where Meeker was playing, we had to postpone our meeting so I wouldn’t miss the game.Meeker lost the game and I got lost again trying to meet up with Haylee but they found me and we got to spend a little time together. Once again, keeping my world upright.I then drove to Colorado Springs and spent the night with my in-laws, which I honestly enjoyed. My oldest grandson lives with his mother in Colorado Springs and Sunday morning his mom dropped him off and the two of us drove to the United States Air Force Academy to watch Joe Leblanc, who wrestles for the University of Wyoming, compete in the Western Regional tournament. We watched Joe win his semifinal match. I took my grandson home and came back to watch Joe lose in the championship match. Joe, a two-time All-American, will still compete in the NCAA Division I national tournament in Pennsylvania next week. And I got to spend time with my oldest grandson, so my world is still upright.Traveling home with my lifelong friend Tad Sullivan, a sign at the junction of I-25 and C-470 said westbound I-70 was closed at Silverthorne, so we decided to spend the night in Denver. Coming home Monday, my wife texted me that our friend Judi Brown had passed away. Judi lost a long, hard-fought battle with cancer but left her kindness and wit behind, with two wonderful grown children, several grandchildren and many memories. What a special lady she was, I miss her already, but I will always remember her.When I did finally get home, I walked into our coffee shop and running toward me was my other grandson, the only grandchild I hadn’t seen over the weekend.“Pop Bob,” he said, before giving me a big hug, lifting my spirit and keeping my world upright.