As I walked out of
the gym at Chesterton High School yesterday afternoon, it struck me that it
was the last time as the Sports Editor for the Chesterton Tribune.
Sure, I knew it was
coming a few weeks ago, but it didnít really hit me until then.
I had interviewed
Marc Urban after his teamís victory over Northridge. Went to see Dawn
Matthysí back-to-back-to-back State Championship Gymnastics team. And then
finished with a visit to the Wrestling Room to see Chris Joll.
They are three
great ones. And Iíve had the privilege of working with lots of very talented
coaches that not only put in the work, but do it the right way. Everyone
from St. Patís to CMS to CHS and everywhere in between. Long-time coaches
like Jack Campbell, Kevin Kinel, LouAnn Hopson and Fred Mitchell taught me a
lot of things that I used in my own career as a coach.
John Snyder, Tom
Peller, Tommy Berry, Tom Bour, Mark Peterson, Dan McCoy, Nick Bamber and Tim
Ray are all amongst the very best in their profession. And even more
importantly, they are the type of people off the floor that I would love my
own kids to play for someday.
The contact list in
my phone is extensive with coaches that always responded after a game or
whenever I needed a quote or result. Rarely did the phone ever go to
voicemail and they were always frank, honest and ďoff the recordĒ when they
needed to be. I appreciated it. It allowed me to do the job and put ďourĒ
kids in the best light even when they didnít play great.
That endless list
at Chesterton, and the way they handle themselves, comes from the top. My
entire career at the Tribune, Garry Nallenweg was the Athletic
Director. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, bleeds maroon and gold like he does. A
lionís share of the success athletically for the Trojans has to go to him.
questionable hire? Bringing in an assistant from archrival Valparaiso to
coach his volleyball team. It was a wonderful 13 years that I have nothing
but fond memories of. He taught me things about coaching and relationships
that have made me a better coach, reporter and father.
Jim Goetz wore a
lot of hats in the Duneland School Corporation during my tenure and no
matter what it was, his door was always open for me. We had lots of
conversations about sports, but it will always be the oneís that werenít
sports-related that Iíll remember.
So, as I put
stories on the page this morning for the final time, I simply say thank you.
Thank you for allowing me into your home on these pages for the past 15+
years. Thank you to all those that made it possible and to all the wonderful
student-athleteís that made this my dream job.
And Iíd be remiss
to not thank David Canright, Margaret Willis, the late Warren and Betty
Canright and the rest of the staff at the Chesterton Tribune. What a
wonderful, talented bunch of people. They took a chance on me more than 15
years ago and I canít thank them enough.
Weíll see you again
at a game. Just this time, Iíll be sitting with you in the bleachers.