District judge Lass becomes Hall of Famer | SummitDaily.com

District judge Lass becomes Hall of Famer

BRECKENRIDGE – Although he’s more of a hiker and biker now, Dave Lass recently got the opportunity to relive his football and baseball glory days at Valparaiso University.

The Breckenridge resident and judge in Colorado’s fifth district was named to the Valparaiso (Indiana) Athletic Hall of Fame this year. His passing numbers as a quarterback in the early 1960s still stand as some of the most gaudy in school history. As a senior, he captained Valpo’s conference championship team and also was a three-year letterman in baseball at a time when freshmen were not eligible to play varsity.

In February, he returned to the college to accept his nomination to the Hall, giving a speech at the ceremony and taking in a Valpo basketball game.

“It was really a fun experience,” he said. “Because it’s a small college, it really has a family feeling to it. And some of my college coaches are still there.”

Lass had a chance to turn pro. During his stellar senior season, several NFL teams contacted him about the draft. But, concerned about the disadvantages of being 5-foot-10 and soured by a bad experience as a minor league baseball player, he opted out of the draft and went to law school at Wayne State without regret.

Sitting in his office in the Summit County Justice Center on the brink of 60 years old, Lass talked about the athlete he’s become after three decades in Summit County.

“Hiking and biking continue to be our exercise,” he said about he and his wife, Meg. “I still dream of, when I retire, doing more biking trips.”

Lass spends a lot of his time on the Sally Barber and Peaks trails and on the routes by his house near Hoosier Pass.

The couple’s interest in hiking and biking is tied to its passion for travel. The Lasses have been to more than 40 countries and have spent time on trails in each. Most recently, they went to Mongolia, Tibet and Bhutan.

The travel bug was implanted during a nine-month, around-the-world trip the couple took in 1973, after Lass finished law school and before they arrived in Breckenridge.

Lass maintained his interest in competitive team sports for some years in the 1970s and ’80s by playing in the local softball leagues. He continues to get his competitive urges out on the racquetball court.

“It’s great to get out and just smash the ball around and yell and scream a little bit,” he said.

For a few years, though, the travel involved in being a fifth district judge was taking a toll. The fifth district covers Clear Creek, Summit, Lake and Eagle counties, and Lass spent many of his days driving from one courthouse to another. That has died down in the last year, and he’s just beginning to return to fitness.

And what better place than in his adopted hometown of 30 years?

“I feel very fortunate to live here,” Lass said, “with all the recreation that’s available. More elite and competitive athletes are coming to this area because of what’s available.”

The Sports People series will focus on active Summit Countians every Tuesday in the Summit Daily.

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