Back in the early days of the Shenendehowa Cross Country Ski Team there were several terms used to describe, usually with great excitement and enthusiasm, how well a teammate was doing out on the course at a Section II meet. These came back, “Jeff is smoking!” This meant that he was “burning up the trails” keeping up with a Queensbury or Mayfield H S hot shot. When parents or coaches were around the term became “toasting”. Dave McGurrin (’94) became team captain in 1992. As he came off the bus at an early season meet at Crandall Park he held up a toaster to his cheering team mates and proceeded to ski out to the top of the Wall to place the toaster prominently in a hemlock tree. This was to serve as inspiration to the team and tease them up and over the Wall. As I recall the wall was stepper at the time and only the top athletes could actually skate up the intimidating slope. But that day in the early part of the season Shenendehowa actually beat Queensbury on what was at that time their home course!
The ritual of the toaster known only to the team and passed down from team captain to team captain lives on today.
Part of the ritual is that there are messages within the toaster that are discreetly passed around on the bus as the team travels to the best snow in Section II …messages of inspiration? only the team knows for sure.
One parent asked me what would happen if someone plugged in the toaster. Well I don’t think the toaster worked for its original intended purpose back twenty years ago when Dave McGurrin pilfered it out of the trash. But it still provides inspiration today even with the layers of duct tape holding the remnant together.
The last I heard of Dave McGurrin was that he was attending Cornell University, but that was twenty years ago. Goes anyone know where he is today?