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Packing It Up

August 1, 2018
BY BRUCE CRAWFORD - Staff Writer ( , Wetzel Chronicle

When is a good time to retire from the workforce? Well, it's almost time for this guy.

After losing my job as a coalminer 20 years ago, I set out to find a job that I would like that would also keep me young and work my brain, while keeping me involved in sports.

Well, 18 years ago, I found such a thing. I was hired on the spot when I put in my resume with the Wetzel Chronicle. With more than 20 years experience as a youth basketball and baseball commisisoner, working as a baseball and softball umpire - and being a soccer and basketball coach, I thought, "No problem!" I knew most sports and thought I could do a good job. Except, I didn't have any experience with writing, typing, and using a computer - as well as taking photos and putting news articles in the computer to have them printed. I had no experience with that.

However, Mike Galluzzo, who was the Wetzel Chronicle and Tyler Star News' general manager at the time, said I would be fine. He told me to write like I was telling someone about the game, and to let the editor do her job and make sense of what I write.

I said yes and was on my way. My first job was covering a Magnolia Blue Eagle football game at Alumni Field.

I believe I did a good job, but I wasn't sure of all the red tape that was involved in putting the story on paper. I didn't have to do that very much when I started, but eased my way into it. Being on the sideline among all the athletes, it's like I never left.

After a few months, I got froggy and started to more than just write a story and take pictures. I loved that people tried to show me how to do things, but just watching and learning on my own was the best for me. Sure I made mistakes, but I WAS blessed to have had some really good editors and helpers along my journey.

When three general managers, four editors, five secretaries, advertising people, and all the many past and present reporters - as well as many others, gave me their precious support, I thought that this is a place that I could retire at.

Anyone in the news industry will tell you: This isn't a glamorous job that one can get rich from, but I knew that going in. I am still standing.

The coal mine gave me and my family a good life for close to 30 years, and then my wife became a nurse. That helped make up the difference, more than when I worked in the mine.

I was among great people all my life in everything I have done, and I thank them all from the bottom of my heart, especially Bill Abraham and Mike Galluzo. Everybody that I started to work with has left for bigger and better things.

I'm still here, but not for long.

This coming sports season will be my last as a full-time sports writer, as I will say goodbye next May-June.

I would like to stay on as a part-time sports writer for a little while, so hopefully I won't be totally gone.

My health as well as my age are the two main reasons. However, my oldest granddaughter will be in high school, and the rest of my grand-kids will be involved in some type of organized activity. I want to be right there catching in as much as I can.

What I want to do is say thanks for the memories that I have made. This my last year as a full-time writer, and I want to remind all my coaches to make sure you, or a representative, will send in stats - win or lose. I haven't had too much trouble in getting football and golf stats, but volleyball, cross country, golf, boys and girls soccer are a different story.

During the fall and winter seasons, there are lots more games being played, as all five of my high schools have boys and girls teams. A good portion of the time the coaches wait and try to send stats all at once, and by having so many games, I would love to get information the next night if possible, so I can budget what I have for the sports pages for Wednesday.

Some people and coaches don't understand, but we need all information in the system by late Monday morning, so page layout begins on time.

Mr. Tyler Star News, Ed Parsons, has helped me out with Paden City sports when they aren't playing Valley, Hundred, River or Magnolia. That has helped me out a lot and has prolonged my stay.

In conclusion, I want to thank everyone for all your continued support - I truly do. Its been a great 18 years of service to all my Wetzel Chronicle sports teams and readers. I hope, in some way, I have done an "OK" job.

So, let's finish my final season with a bang and win loads of games, conference sectionals, regionals, and state team titles - as well as individual titles. Let's break countless records!

If anyone has a sports story you would like to see int he paper, don't hesitate to give me a ring or text.

Once again, I'll upload photos on the Wetzel Chronicle Facebook page, along with my own personal page. Help yourself, and tag anyone you may know.

Thanks once again, and let's make this sports year one of the best.



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