By MICK HOLIEN
The most enjoyable part of being around young student athletes over an extended period of time has little to do with athletic prowess or even academic excellence although watching the recent honor roll and the level of achievement is impressive.
It occurs much like it did in Polson Wednesday night when record-setting Grizzly running back Chase Reynolds, more than a half dozen years removed from the program and amidst a professional career spoke to a large throng of high school seniors who in most cases may be donning pads and a helmet for the last time.
Representing schools from as far away as Eureka and as near as Polson, the room of more than 100 people with parents and coaches in attendance at the annual Shrine recognition dinner leaned forward in their chairs and hung on every word as the Drummond product, now with six years under his belt with the Rams outlined keys of success in the Reynolds world when IMPO continues.
Mick Holien back on your radio and while they came in all sizes, shapes and demeanor and are destined individually for far more than just the gridiron, Chase accompanied by his wife Kila held the floor for 20 minutes with sage advice.
We lamented that he was just three yards short of being the most prolific running back in University of Montana history but yet set both the total TD mark and rushing TD standard.
About a pair of championship games lost, a huge playoff win at James Madison and certainly of the botched return from Chattanooga when the Griz charter couldn’t land in Missoula and ended up in Great Falls to wait for buses for the return home trip all with a Reynolds youngster in tow.
Obviously extremely polished from days removed from Drummond where the Bullshippers won three straight Class C titles in claiming 35 consecutive games, he took the crowd into the hallowed Bobby Hauck pre-game locker room where lifetime relationships, that brotherhood, are developed.
It seems his time in St Louis, where he also was the team representative to the Players Union, has come to an end and he is left to ponder his future at the start of the 2017 draft with some teams in touch.
No 24 is a proven commodity and he obviously brings far more than football prowess to the process. He is polished, seasoned and a leader that I have no doubt will be on the field come opening day representing Griz Nation.