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February 13, 2019

After ending my basketball officiating career and my soccer and basketball coaching careers the way I wanted to go out, I went out on my own terms as a softball umpire, and will soon do the same as a sports writer - after this year's spring sports season.

Hundred High School and its sports teams got together and gave me an early send-off during the school's recent senior night.

Being a very sensitive person I was overwhelmed, but also elated Hundred would honor me along with its seniors. I don't do this sports writer job for the praise; I just want to do a good job and try to be fair and give all five of my schools the same coverage.

Hundred has been down somewhat in past sports seasons, so I try to pump them up a little. But really, I just write the way I would tell somebody about the sport I cover.

When I was first hired by Mike Galluzzo, who was then general manager, he told me to be myself and write in my own words. So I began my soon-to-be 18 years here at the Wetzel Chronicle. In past years, Hundred, Valley and River sports didn't get much press coverage. I felt if I was going to be a sports reporter, I should make sure everyone got my attention. It wasn't so bad at first, but the last year or two, I saw a big letdown on my coverage of Hundred and Valley, so I asked my partner-in-sports writing, Ed Parsons, for some help. He has taken Paden City almost all the time so I can continue to cover my other schools.

That has made it a lot easier for me to maintain my coverage of Hundred, Magnolia, River and Valley.

There have been many times I've had people take pictures for me at Magnolia, Paden City and River, but no one wanted to travel to Hundred and Valley to take pictures. So, I started to see myself covering Hundred and Valley a lot more than I first did. I don't know if it was just Mother Nature telling me something or what, but if I'm not doing the job I was hired to do, (cover all my five schools the same), I knew I better start making some changes and rather quickly.

Thanks to Ed Parsons, Mike Hughes, and Executive Sports Editor Bubba Kapral, I cover what I can, and don't worry about getting every game or match in every week.

It was nice what Hundred did, and it was equally nice to be invited to Roger Kimball's last supper at Buffalo Wild Wings. Roger is retiring from basketball officiating and wanted me to come to join him and some of the guys he has worked with over the years. I taught some umpiring classes in the past, and he is the only one left from the first class I taught.

It was so nice to have been a basketball official and a softball umpire. I wish I could have gone longer. With the majority of the umpires and referees getting up there in years, we need to get some younger guys to step up be able to service our local schools in officiating - not only basketball and softball, but all sports. Believe me it's a worthwhile extra job. Not only to service our schools in their sporting games, but its a wonderful way of keeping fit as well, along with earning some spending money, too.

The end of my tenure as a full-time sports reporter is drawing ever so closer, and I hope when I say farewell, it won't be for very long. I hope they keep me on part-time, and I can continue to service our area sporting events.

But what we need ASAP is for all my area schools, except River (who has already), to send their spring sports schedules to us. I'm sure some have noticed that in the past few years the schedules haven't been right on. That is because schools have changed their schedules after we have already gotten the majority of them from the WVSSAC sports schedules and sent to print. Magnolia is the only West Virginia school that sends us schedules, and will send in updated as they come, but sadly the other schools don't. This includes middle schools too. We need all your spring sports schedules ASAP.

One more thing - please, if you are a coach, help us sports writers get rosters as soon as you can after you start practices, and pretty please help us get stats as soon as a game or meet is over. I know most of you coaches send stats to Wheeling and Parkersburg, but fail to give them to us.



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