AURORA — Normally, CHSAA commissioner Paul Angelico provides the Legislative Council a detailed, yet brief update on the status of the Association.
But as he said at the beginning of Thursday’s address, his last as commissioner: This time is different.
He gave his thanks. He praised those in the CHSAA office that make the operations run as smoothly as they do.
He said goodbye.
And it wouldn’t be a true goodbye if he didn’t recap his time in the position. Coming into the role of commissioner, Angelico cared about the development of high school athletics and about what the kids were learning through participating in sports.
Under Angelico, laws regarding concussion policies and the use of athletic trainers were passed. This wasn’t just a CHSAA mandate. This was state law.
He cited a better partnership with the Colorado High School Coaches Association that has become essential in the interaction of coaches with the association.
Participating in such programs as You Can Play have become essential in giving kids the freedom to joins teams and programs without the threat of being teased or bullied.
But with all these accomplishments, Angelico was quick to remind the council of a very important aspect. The work is not done.
In his retirement, the Legislative Council and the Board of Directors will continue to advocate for high school athletics.
He may have sat in the driver’s seat for the last seven years, but the ship doesn’t run without the conglomerate of athletic directors and administrators that tackle the issues head-on.
“I think the things you have allowed us to do, what I wanted done seven years ago, which was to maintain the value of what high school sports have traditionally been about,” he told the council. “I didn’t do that, you did.”
Angelico had dreams and goals of what he could do as commissioner. But they were never things that he could do alone.
The Board and the Council had faith in him and gave him the flexibility to do what he needed to in order to steer the Association in the way that he felt was best not just for the athletic directors and the schools, but for the kids.
His efforts over the last seven years will play a heavy role in the direction of the association when Rhonda Blanford-Green takes over in July.
Before saying his final goodbye, he encouraged everyone to continue doing the work that they’re doing because that’s the only way that Colorado high school athletics will grow and evolve.
He signed off acknowledging that there are two important days in someone’s life. There’s the day they’re born and the day they figure out why.
When an emotional Angelico said his final goodbye to the Legislative Council, he knew exactly why he was born and he felt that he had done his best to carry out that mission.
He expressed gratitude to the crowd with emotion and humility.
And they returned that gratitude with a standing ovation.