From the middle of June until the middle of August, the amount of sports news that crosses my desk dips significantly. I usually take my last vacation of the summer the second week of August – right before the first day of high school sports practices. When I return to work after vacation, I know the high school sports season is right around the corner, and I have about two weeks to gather information on the area’s high school sports teams for our annual Fall Sports Preview.As is the norm, I traveled to every corner of Chenango County, took countless pictures, called and re-called coaches, and finally spent countless hours writing approximately 13,000 words for the preview on 34 different sports teams. Thursday, the fruits of my labor will appear in a special supplement to our regular edition. I know some sports have already started their regular season, but to quote an old saying, “let the games begin!”
One of the truest axioms is that time relentlessly moves forward, and eventually leaves us all behind. In the sports sense, one by one, the contacts with whom I have associated for over a decade and a half are slowly fading away. Not dying, but retiring from teaching and coaching.
I never looked at myself as a veteran reporter until one of my favorite coaches of all time retired. Bill Case was one of the first coaches I met during my initial days of my job. We became close professional associates, and ultimately good friends. Four years ago, Bill stepped aside as the longtime basketball coach of the Greene Trojans – my 12th year on the job. I had well over a decade of experience, yet it all seemed to move so fast.
One by one, my originals (those who have coached since my opening day) have stepped aside to move into the next phase of their lives. Most recently, I phoned Otselic Valley’s longtime teacher and coach, Dave Loomis. Loomis has coached three varsity sports since my opening day. He has remained consistently professional and accommodating from the first day I spoke to him. Dave told me earlier this week that he had retired from the school district, and was giving up coaching the soccer and baseball programs. He will remain, at least for this year, the varsity basketball coach. I thought Dave Loomis was the “coach for life” at OV, and it will be a bit strange not fielding his game reports.
Along the lines of time pressing forward. The hair on my head is much longer, the hair on my chin is much grayer, and two of my three kids are now in high school. My oldest is a member of the Norwich varsity soccer team, and I can legitimately place his name in the paper in complete absence of nepotism. My oldest daughter, who just celebrated her 14th birthday, was recruited by three different NHS extracurricular organizations. Unfortunately, she is so busy taking about 25 dance classes (slight exaggeration), she had to pass on the invitations.
One of my oldest sports section contributors, Bob McNitt, gave me a call earlier today. He began his outdoors column in 1977, but had to go on hiatus the past few months for reasons that were not disclosed. Tomorrow, we disclose those reasons in a letter from Bob to the readers. Suffice to say, it was a relief to hear from Bob, and I hope to have his weekly column back on the sports pages fairly soon.