Archive for Thursday, December 25, 2008

Looking back at 2008

December 25, 2008


Memories of 2008 (not all of them sports related) …

• Sitting in a motel in Amarillo, Texas, watching Mario Chalmers nail that game-tying three-pointer in the NCAA basketball championship game and wondering if my wife’s hollering would result in our eviction.

• Explaining to people why in the world we were in Amarillo, Texas, on that memorable night. (We were on our way to Carlsbad Caverns).

• Watching Tania Jackson drill that game-tying three-pointer in the Class 6A state high school championship game against Goddard in Emporia. Who knew that exactly a month later Chalmers would pull off a similar miracle?

• Visiting with an ever-smiling Darren Green, whom I’ve known since his days as a KU football player, after his son Dorian scored 32 points in Lawrence High’s stunning 65-56 victory over top-seeded Manhattan in the first-round of the Class 6A state basketball tournament.

• Attending the retirement party of former Topeka Capital-Journal sports writer Pete Goering, one of the genuine good guys in the business, in Washburn University’s press box.

• Returning to the WU press box a couple of months later to watch Free State suffer that tough 19-14 loss to Junction City in the Firebirds’ first appearance in a Class 6A state championship football game.

• Interviewing Perry-Lecompton senior football standout Joel Ganz and having him mention that my wife had been his kindergarten teacher at Perry Grade School.

• Sitting in the stands at Michie Stadium on the campus of the U.S. Military Academy and wondering if I had ever been in a place that oozed so much tradition.

• Baby-sitting the grandkids in suburban New York City so our oldest daughter and her husband, both KU graduates, could go to Florida and watch the Jayhawks knock off Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl.

• Attending a Northwest Arkansas Naturals baseball game in Springdale, Ark., and writing my second story on Steve Davis, the radio voice of the Royals AA farm club. I wrote the first one when Davis was a student manager on KU’s men’s basketball team.

• Running into Dan Neuenswander, a former Lawrence superintendent of schools, and his wife Connie on a hiking trail in Rocky Mountain National Park, and dining with them that evening.

• Receiving a pin — and other goodies — at a company get-together commemorating my 40 years with the Journal-World.

• Appearing in front of the city’s Historic Resources Commission and asking them to approve changing the name of North Park Street to Ralph Houk Street. The HRC declined, but I’m still hopeful of convincing the city to name one of its sports facilities after the former New York Yankees’ manager and World War II medal winner.

• Attending a reunion of my Missouri University School of Journalism class and catching up with college roommate Tom Morris, now a federal judge in Jacksonville, Fla.

• Teaching Junior Achievement courses to sixth graders at Quail Run School and eighth graders at Central Junior High.

• Riding the bone-rattling “Timberwolf” roller coaster twice at Worlds of Fun while chaperoning a church youth group and vowing there will never be a third time.


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