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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Friday, July 9, 2004


The write stuff

Ketchum softball scribe Vicky Graves knows the score

Express Staff Writer

It is so easy to typecast people. Make them one-dimensional to fit into the roles we assign to them in our minds.

Vicky Graves

Vicky Graves explodes all the preconceived ideas you might have about her. You probably know her the longtime softball scorekeeper at Atkinson Park. Few outside the confines of the West Ketchum Coliseum have any notion that beneath the genial exterior lurks a rabid, die-hard Packers fan that lives and dies with each Brett Favre completion.

The 75-year old Graves is a third-generation Idahoan. Born and raised in Pocatello, her father worked for the Union Pacific Railroad. The two Graves girls, Vicky and Cathy, were taught to hunt and fish as soon as they were big enough to tote the gear.

"I was fly fishing before fly fishing was cool," Graves remarked.

Vicky grew so proficient with a shotgun that in 1965 she won the Idaho Trap Shooting championship. She still hunts and fishes and cites fall as her favorite season, just like another famous outdoorsman from the Ketchum area.

Her first trip to the Wood River Valley was with the Pocatello High School band as a saxophone and bassoon player. The group performed at the Sun Valley rodeo.

On July 15, 1953, Graves, a graduate of Idaho State, moved to Sun Valley and took a job as a pharmacist at the Sun Valley Drug Store. It did not take long for her to embrace the town. In 1958 she was the co-chair of the very first Wagon Days Parade.

Graves worked at Sun Valley Drug for 25 years, eventually managing the store. She went on to tend bar at the popular River Street Retreat, prompting a comment from one of her customers, "Great, Vicky. You have gone from drugs to booze."

Her father was an avid softball player, and following in his footsteps, Vicky joined Nedderís Belles of the Ketchum Womenís Softball League in 1976. She played first base on the squad and then managed the team.

"I couldnít run, but I could hit and field," she said. "We had Nedderís daiquiri parties. That was our secret weapon."

Graves also managed the Rippers softball team, named after another Ketchum icon, Rip Sewell. Rippers was an apt title. Throughout the years, the squad routinely routed the other teams in the league with standout players Terry Tracy, Candy Crane, Twyla Bulcher and Carol Levine among others.

Under Gravesí guidance the Rippers placed fourth in a Western Regional tournament and qualified for nationals, but could not go because the tournament was over the Labor Day holiday and too many players had to work.

Now a golfer and biker in her spare time, Graves said she has always enjoyed team sports. "I like the competition. There seems to be more camaraderie and compassion."

Graves remains close to her family. Her sister Cathy recently moved to Twin Falls and her nephew, Steve Harrison, and niece, Karen Smart, both live in Hailey.

Vicky stopped by the Idaho Mountain Express office on Wednesday.

JZ: When did you start keeping scorebooks?

VG: I started keeping score for the Pocatello Cardinals back when I was in junior high. Just for myself, though. They were a farm club for the St. Louis Cardinals. But I started scoring games up here after I quit playing.

JZ: What is your favorite sport?

VG: I love all team sports. My favorite is pro football. I am the biggest Packer fan you could imagine.

JZ: How did a girl from Pocatello become a Packer fan?

VG: I visited some friends and saw how the fans were and just adopted them. Every week I get the Packer Report. I try and watch them when they are on. Go to bars or friends houses, wherever I can see the Packers.

JZ: What baseball team do you root for?

VG: I am a Yankees fan. I stay with the winners. Terry Tracy and I have had a bet every year for 30 years; who will finish first in the American League East; the Yankees or Red Sox. Terry just paid for my new condominium.

JZ: Do you think the caliber of the coed league is better or worse than ten years ago?

VG: I think it is much better. The caliber of women playing is so much better. Winning in coed softball hinges more on women than men. Everyone has a big hitter. The teams that have the most outstanding women end up as the championship team. There is a lot more parity in the league now. A lot of players come out having played ball at college or high school. They are so much more in tune with the game.

JZ: Do you think we will ever see another menís or womenís softball league in Ketchum?

VG: I hope they come back, but I donít think so. There are too many other diversities. The baseball league has taken a lot of softball players. I miss menís softball. I miss the double plays and terrific infield plays and throws from the outfield. I do think the coed league is a nice thing for families. Husbands and wives get to play together. I enjoy all of it.

JZ: Who are some of the players you enjoy watching?

VG: Oh, I would hate to leave anyone out. The best player in town is Robin Sarchett. Hands down. He is the best ball player we have had since Dave Fauth. He can do everything. He can hit home runs, heís fast, and heís an outstanding left fielder. He has it all.

JZ: Are there any changes in the game that you like?

VG: The best thing that has happened to softball is the third foul ball is a strikeout. Games go so much faster. Guys used to stand up there and just foul off ball after ball. That and limited homeruns per team. You canít stand up there and go for the fence. It made it more fun and technical. We used to have tournaments in Ketchum where the big guys would just stand up there and hit them out. I scored a game once that was 34-32. It is just unheard of now, 20 homeruns in a game.

JZ: How many games have you scored in a lifetime?

VG: Oh my. Say I have been doing it for 20 years. I donít know Ė thousands. I do it for the camaraderie. I love the sport. People who play softball are pretty fun people. They do it because they like the game. They like to drink beer and have fun with their friends.

JZ: What is the most outstanding play you have ever seen?

VG: How could I ever say. I have seen great throws from outfield to home plate.

JZ: Do you have a theory why people seem to root against winning teams?

VG: They always do that. They love to hate the Yankees. The Lakers. They cheer against winners. People like underdogs. I like winners.

JZ: If you could be any pro athlete who would you be and why?

VG: I would be Brett Favre throwing for the Packers. Throwing the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl.

JZ: What do you think of the changes you have seen in the Valley?

VG: Some are very good. The culture has improved. I do miss personal contact with people. When I moved here there were 700 people and you knew everyone in the Valley. Obviously, we would all like to go back to how Ketchum was. No place is like how it used to be.

JZ: What is your idea of a perfect day?

VG: Every day is a good day in Sun Valley. I donít have bad days. I have great friends, a good family. I am very content.


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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.