This month, the NBA will broadcast its first-ever awards show, and with the Nuggets missing out on the playoffs yet again, Denver doesn’t figure to score a lot of prizes. Still, Colorado has a roster full of athletes whose feats over the past 12 months deserve some recognition, even if it’s not for victory in a traditional sense. Hence,
5280’s first (and probably not annual) Eclectic Labors Which Ambiguously Yielded Success awards—aka, the ELWAYS.
The Colorado Rockies: A 2017 Northern Kentucky University survey reports that the Rox are the least-hated club in the majors. That sounds nice, but really it just means Colorado isn’t threatening enough to engender any sort of opinion from other teams’ fans. If the Rockies were a TV network, they’d be Freeform (formerly ABC Family)—pleasant, yet ultimately inconsequential. Photo Illustration by John Ueland Ex-Denver Nugget Reggie Evans: “That dude is old and unhappy with himself,” Evans tweeted last December. Evans, along with a number of his old teammates, didn’t seem to appreciate the prose in George Karl’s autobiography—including, we presume, this sparkling insight. “Kenyon [Martin] and Carmelo [Anthony] carried two big burdens: All that money and no father to show them how to act like a man.” Photo Illustration by John Ueland Dylan Prichett-Ettner: During an August match, the Columbine High School soccer player sprinted after a long pass, did a Matrix-style front flip over the keeper (we’re pretty sure he paused midair to wink at the crowd), and kicked the ball into the net. Sadly, officials ruled Prichett-Ettner offside and disallowed the miracle goal. On the bright side, the video went viral, undoubtedly boosting Prichett-Ettner’s prom prospects. Photo Illustration by John Ueland Emma Coburn and Jenny Simpson: Seriously—in this case, third place counts as a win. After all, Coloradans Coburn and Simpson became the first American women to earn Olympic medals in the 3,000-meter and 1,500-meter steeplechases, respectively, when they both took bronze in Rio de Janeiro. (No one’s quite sure what steeplechase actually is…but hey, a bronze is a bronze.) Photo Illustration by John Ueland The University of Denver men’s hockey team: In January, the Pioneers traveled without some vital equipment: their sticks. (DU’s plane to Michigan couldn’t fit all the squad’s gear, so their lumber was delivered later.) The team practiced anyway, using imaginary sticks. The Pios lost once that weekend, but in the spring, they couldn’t be beaten. On April 8—using real sticks—they defeated Minnesota Duluth to earn DU’s eighth NCAA title. Photo Illustration by John Ueland