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Working hard to give Charlo a better Chance

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In the Vikings 58-50 wild shootout victory against the White Sulphur Springs Hornets Saturday, it seemed like the outcome hinged on almost every play. So there are at least a dozen plays you could go back to and say that changed the game, but the one that still stands out in my mind was Viking lineman Chance Rosenbaum’s interception midway through the third quarter with the Vikings leading 30-28.

Two plays after the Vikings fumbled the ball to the Hornets inside their own 20, Chance was being handled by Hornet lineman Tyler Driedlien, not giving up on the play, Chance stuck his hand up in the air to knockdown Cy Williams’ pass, and then dove for the ball and hung onto the ball even though, as Chance explained, Driedlien tackled him by his face mask and “the only thing that kept my helmet on was my mouth guard.”

“That had to be Rosenbaum,” I said to the Charlo assistant coach Wally Esterby on the sideline after the play. 

“The kid just doesn’t stop working,” Esterby replied, which was the 511th time I’ve heard a compliment of Chance’s work ethic.

OK, maybe it wasn’t the 511th time, but I’ve lost count. Now in my third year of covering Charlo sports, it seems like at least once a week one of the Charlo coaches has to say something about how hard the honor roll student works. Though undersized in basketball, Chance consistently led the team in rebounds and ended up in double digits in scoring, making Charlo basketball Mike Brown tell me if he had a team full of players with “motors like Rosenbaum” they would be divisional champs. On the Vikings’ second-place track team, Chance did whatever was asked of him and on their football team, which is known for how hard they work, Chance has separated himself as the hardest worker.

“He’s the type of kid that if I tell them to take two laps to warm up and kind of tell them to make it an easy jog, he can’t. He runs two hard laps and comes in half of a lap in front of everybody,” Charlo coach Mike Krahn said. “He just does everything hardnosed.”

Krahn said that Chance is the kind of guy that shows up with his lunch pail and goes to work. So it was only fitting that in his sophomore and part of his junior year, Chance walked around the school with a lunch box. After getting dizzy while conditioning, because his blood-sugar level, Chance had to make sure he always had a couple of sandwiches around.

Working hard is a family tradition for Chance. 

“My family taught me. My uncles were never really good at sports in junior high. But they kept working and in high school they kind of just bloomed into good athletes,” Chance said of Scott, Sam, Shawn and Shane Smith.

Chance has also bloomed into a good athlete, though he’s probably too humble to admit it. 

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