TIME TO MOVE ON
This is not easy to write, but my time in La Grande is coming to an end. I will be the new sports writer at the News-Register in McMinnville. I will tentatively be starting there sometime around Oct. 4. My last day at The Observer is Sept. 24.
Saying goodbye to coaches and athletes from nine schools in Union and Wallowa counties, plus Eastern Oregon University, has been tough. I could not even tell coaches while I was interviewing them after games during the last couple days that I'm headed to the other side of the state.
Most will probably find it shocking that I'm leaving right at this moment. I know, I have a knack for timing. I arrived in La Grande in the middle of winter and now leave in the middle of the fall.
I still laugh about how I moved with two large suitcases, plus a laptop from Honolulu, Hawaii, to rural La Grande about 2 1/2 years ago with no idea of what I was getting into. I had never driven in snow, although I went to college in the snowy Midwest and was familiar with the rough road conditions from carpooling.
The eve before my first day of work, the snow came down and I figured I'd be all right driving the next morning. Wrong! The ice was so thick on the windows and I did not have a scraper.
I called the office and said I'd be late. I bought a scraper and then had to figure out how to drive in snowy conditions. It was so embarrasing to be late on my first day, but stuff like that happens. It took me awhile to get adjusted in my first year. When I finally felt comfortable, I realized that coming here was a good choice.
Now, my next choice is McMinnville. I hope you all understand why I'm leaving. It is a wonderful opportunity in McMinnville. I feel the time is right to move on in my career. I have had valuable experience here. I will always have a place in my heart for the times spent in northeast Oregon.
The News-Register is a tri-weekly coming out Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and Saturday morning. The schedule and surroundings are different, but I'm still around sports.
Back to reflections, there have been so many memorable sports moments at the high school and college levels. I can't begin to write about all of the memorable college games.
There are too many high school moments to list; most of them have come from state competitions. I feel good when the small schools from this area outshine others at state.
I guess the best thing to do is summarize what the job has meant to me.
I hope I've made a positive impact here.
Athletes get excited when they see me whip out the camera and start taking shots of them live. Talking to players before and after games or meets has been rewarding. Thanks for taking the time to share your stories with me.
Coaches, thanks for putting up with the around-the-clock phone calls and questions.
To all those that have sent me thank yous while I have been here: Know that those are kept. It is always nice to know that you are appreciated.
This is not a permanent goodbye. I will be back in Pendleton during state tourament time.
I like to keep things short and sweet, so I'll end it before I write a novel.
There is one last thing that I wanted to get across in case it has not been obvious. It has been my pleasure covering sports in Union and Wallowa counties.