LUKE DAVIS: Thankful for a special homecoming - The Explorer: Sports

LUKE DAVIS: Thankful for a special homecoming

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Posted: Wednesday, November 26, 2008 12:00 am | Updated: 8:01 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful, because I got to go home – the dark green sideline grass of Canyon Del Oro High School’s football field, for the first time in a long time.

I was born a Dorado.

I owe this, in large part, to my father, John Davis.

My father entered CDO as a freshman, and, judging from the faded pictures in his old yearbook, was pretty happy to have a brand new school in which to make his mark.

He also played Dorado football, and had many tales of the whole team working out with one Universal Gym, and running down local washes in the dead of summer, fairly low tech by today’s standards.

Another way the team got ready for that first season: hauling rocks from the open space on which the current football field now stands.

After graduating in 1968, he went to play football at Whitman College in Washington, the first from CDO to do so, and his perfectly ‘60s picture (mutton chop sideburns and all) graced the “Wall of Fame” in CDO’s basketball gym until just recently, when it was taken down for remodeling.

He returned to the field he built at the age of 25, this time as a defensive backs coach.

In the late ‘70s and ‘80s, while the Dorados were perennial playoff contenders, my dad was awarded many accolades, including Defensive Coach of the Year.

And so, when I was born, one of my first trips, so I’m told, was to that field, on the shoulders of my father. I grew up on the home team’s sideline, playing Nerf football with my friends right about where the players run onto the field.

I remember the coaches, shouting on the field. To me, they were the men who came to our house with their old trucks and helped the family move, for the mere price of what I assume was (ahem) bottled soda.

I remember practice, and through the fog of years, the players greeting me, shaggy ‘80s hair flying, and always, always, the Green and Gold. I knew the fight song before I knew how to read.

My father didn’t leave the field for 20 years, until the onset of multiple sclerosis forced him to walk, as best he could, from the grassy confines of what he’d known most of his life.

About five years later, I came to CDO, ready to try my hand at football, and not quite ready to explain why I couldn’t grow a prodigious moustache or beard like the one my dad had on the Wall of Fame.

My athletic endeavors were not nearly as successful, only two seasons of football before a knee injury and personal issues forced me from the field.

I still have echoes from those fleeting adolescent moments.

The smell of freshly cut grass still makes me think of conditioning drills, called “gassers,” the bane of my existence.

I still remember Coach Bailey’s deep, rumbling, “Linemen! To the hill!” If anyone ever actually spoke in capital letters, it was Coach Bailey.

That’s where I thought my Dorado football connection was severed. Upon graduation, I went to the University of Arizona, played some rugby, made some mistakes and dropped out, then made some good decisions and went back to get a journalism degree. That degree landed me an internship, and eventually a freelance job, with this paper.

And here I am, now having attended a handful of exciting Dorado games. When I look at that field, I see the decades rippling over each other, like when a leaf lands on still water.

Coach Nugent, those of us in the unique and loyal Dorado Nation owe you thanks. You have given the fans something to be caught up in, and you have done right by the tradition you inherited.

To the young men carrying the banner: enjoy the ride, you don’t know when it’ll be done, and although it will not define your lives unless you choose to let it, you are involved in something special.

There is nothing wrong with fighting tooth and nail to keep it going, it’ll be hard work to stop you.

Especially for some team from Scottsdale.

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Tuesday, September 16

Boys Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Buena, Cienega at Marana

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge, Catalina at Amphi (Silverbell GC)

Catalina Foothills, Pueblo, Sahuarita at Sahuaro

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Rio Rico

Ironwood Ridge at Glendale Ironwood

Swimming (@4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge, Sahuarita at Desert Christian

Wednesday, September 17

Girls Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Rincon at CDO

Ironwood Ridge, Desert View at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Cross Country (@4:30)

Salpointe at Catalina Foothills

Palo Verde, Nogales at Marana

Rincon, St. Gregory at CDO

Sahuarita, Pueblo, Pusch Ridge at Desert View

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Empire at Marana (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

CDO at Queen Creek

Cienega at Mountain View

Sahuaro at Catalina Foothills

Walden Grove at Pusch Ridge

Thursday, September 18

Girls Golf

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Boys Golf

Sahuaro and Salpointe at Ironwood Ridge

CDO, Rincon, Sunnyside at Tucson High

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at Sahuarita

Ironwood Ridge at Sahuaro (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

Catalina Foothills at Rincon

Pusch Ridge at San Manuel

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Marana vs. Tucson at Quincy Douglas Pool

Cienega at Marana

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Amphi

Catalina Foothills at Sahuaro

Freshman Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Flowing Wells at Marana (4 p.m.)

Desert View at Mountain View

Cienega at CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

JV Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Amphi at Marana

Santa Cruz Valley at Pusch Ridge

Mountain View at Desert View

CDO at Cienega

Buena at Ironwood Ridge

Sahuarita at Catalina Foothills

Friday, September 19

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge at Mt. Carmel Invitational (San Diego, CA)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

Football (@7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Santa Cruz Valley

Catalina at Marana

Desert Vista at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Cienega at CDO

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

Saturday, September 20

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Marana at Old Pueblo Invite(Lincoln Park)

Mountain View at San Diego

Catalina Foothills, CDO at Ojo Rojo (Chandler, AZ)

Swimming

Marana at Wolves Classic (Chandler High)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

 

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