By David Krueger Herald Writer
The rivalry between Snohomish and Glacier Peak is so fierce it’s extended to the wardrobe choices of the two high schools’ football coaches.
In particular, their choice of headwear.
With head coaches Rory Rosenbach and Kai Smalley, two longtime friends who used to coach together, both sporting a large hat on their heads it’s only fair to ask, who wears it better?
“It’s the floppy gardening hat. It’s ridiculous,” Rosenbach said of Smalley’s choice. “I told him he needs to get rid of that.”
“I don’t think he has much room to talk about fashion to begin with,” said Smalley, the first-year coach at Snohomish. “His hat is probably in better shape than mine, but I still make it look better.”
Smalley was featured in a story in The Herald last week, where a picture of him – wearing his hat – was prominently displayed.
Rosenbach saw the story.
“He called me immediately after the picture came out and wanted to know why I was still wearing that hat,” Smalley said.
The duo both wore hats when Rosenbach came out to Park City, Utah – where Smalley used to coach – to help his friend with a football clinic. Smalley later took off his hat that day, because he didn’t want it to seem like the two coaches – who were also wearing the same shirt – had coordinated their wardrobes.
Smalley said Rosenbach still remains focused on his hat.
“He definitely is obsessed with the hat thing,” Smalley said.
When asked about the Snohomish-Glacier Peak rivalry, the first thing that came to mind for Rosenbach was his friend’s hat.
“I’ll be excited if he wears his gardening hat on Friday night,” Rosenbach said with a big smile. “That’s what I’m hoping he does. That’s a nice hat.”
When an assistant coach pointed out that Rosenbach had a similar hat to Smalley’s, the Glacier Peak head coach quickly shot that down.
“Mine’s more sturdy,” Rosenbach said. “His flops in the wind.”
Rosenbach then went on to compare the hat to something his mother might wear. Smalley wasn’t surprised at the comparison.
“He looks up to me a lot and probably thinks of me as a parent,” Smalley said.
For Smalley, the hat serves a more practical purpose than just fashionable headwear.
“My hat is pretty floppy but I’m also a redhead so I burn easily,” Smalley said. “I have to wear something. I’m out there more focused on the football practice than about how I look.”
Rosenbach said that regardless of who wears what hat, the battle of crosstown rivals should be a lot of fun to be a part of. He’s looking forward to welcoming Smalley to Snohomish with an exciting game that all can enjoy when the Grizzlies take on Snohomish on Sept. 13.
“That game in general is fun,” Rosenbach said. “It’s Snohomish-GP. That crowd is as good of crowd as I’ve seen in that stadium in 20 years and I anticipate it’ll be just the same. Having coached with him, it’ll be fun to see him on the other side of the field.
“Preferably, with the hat.”