There are few things in life as exhilarating as standing on the sideline of a sporting event at any level as a journalist. I’ve had the good fortune of doing just that for more than five years, including the past three at Tucson Local Media.
I’ve been fortunate enough to cover state championship success and failure at the high school level, as well as University of Arizona and Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl contests.
I’ve been lucky enough to watch from the periphery as a cavalcade of soon-to-be stars plied their trade.
I watched in a state of bewilderment as Khalil Tate tore Washington State and UCLA’s defenses to shreds and saw the brilliance of local high school football stars, such as Salpointe’s Bijan Robinson and CDO’s Stevie Rocker, up close and personal.
I saw the Ironwood Ridge High School girls soccer team carve a path towards four-straight state semifinals, establishing itself as one of the most dominant squads in our region.
More importantly, I have been blessed with the ability to tell the stories of the athletes in our midst, getting to know the young men and women who excel at their given sport.
My time in Tucson has ended, however, as I move on to the East Valley Tribune to take on a new challenge. Before I depart for the Valley of the Sun, I want to delve into what makes this crazy profession so worthwhile.
The hours are long and sometimes unfulfilling, but we as sportswriters are given unparalleled access to tell stories that few would otherwise hear. It’s that access that allows us to inform the community about the importance of sport and its ability to build young adults into functioning members of society. It’s that access that allows student-athletes to tell their stories, which can be therapeutic for all involved.
The tears I’ve seen shed by players of all ages reinforce the very reason I got into this industry, that being the passion that makes someone spend years honing their sport (or sports), whatever they may be.
I want to thank each and every athlete, parent, coach and administrator that I’ve come across during the last half-decade. Your input and assistance have made my work worthwhile, as it’s allowed me to stay grounded and make sure I’m telling the stories you want to read.
I’ll miss this eclectic city, with its varying demographics and passions. I’ll miss the passion shared for high school and college sports and the support those in the communities gave for the athletes at those institutions.
I’m excited to see where the future takes me but look back with great fondness on the stories I’ve had the opportunity to tell here. I’ve received dozens of messages from coaches and athletes alike over the past few weeks. Each of them means the world to me, as it shows that my work over the past 36 months at Tucson Local Media have been worthwhile.
I’ll miss the adrenaline rush of standing on the sidelines of Southern Arizona, but I’m sure there will still be plenty of quality moments for the schools in our community after I depart.
Thank you, Tucson, as you’ve given me a place to truly call home since I arrived on Sept. 15, 2014.
It’s been a hell of a run, but all good things must come to an end eventually. It’s been roughly 1,900 days since I arrived in the Old Pueblo, but those have been the best of my life, by far.
Thanks for the memories and the stories and happy holidays to all, both on and off the many playing surfaces of Southern Arizona.