By Steve Ramirez
Time truly flies when you are having fun.And I’ve had fun for nearly 30 years writing and covering local sports for this newspaper, but as the old adage states — all good things must eventually come to an end. And my time is now.For those of you who don’t know, today was my final day covering local sports for San Gabriel Valley Newspapers. Effective Monday, I’m moving over from the ‘Toy Department,’ as Southern California sports writing icon Bud Furillo once called it, to our news division, joining the breaking news team for our Inland Newspaper Group.
I’m switching from the fun of strikeouts, fumbles and 3-pointers to the harsh realities of crime, fires and automobile accidents.
I’ll be leaving my comfort zone from something I’ve done for three decades to the unknown. It’s a new challenge, but one I’m looking forward to.
But I’d be amiss if I didn’t approach it with a luke-warm feeling. I’m generally excited for this new opportunity. But I will also miss the coaches and administrators I’ve dealt with who have become my friends. We as journalists are supposed to be objective and report what we know and see. But you can’t do that with stone faces and without emotion. Not when you are dealing with people.
There are so many who have made this job feel not like a job. I can’t mention you all, but you all met something to me. I’ve always tried to give the people I cover the respect they deserve for being the professionals of their craft — coaching and running athletic programs. It’s not easy what you do, but you always got it done and I respect that.
They also made this fun. Those include coaches such as Charter Oak’s Lou Farrar, Big Lou as we like to call him; Steve Bogan; Greg Gano; Bill Zernickow; Mike Maggiore; Mike LeDuc; DJ MacKinnon; Pete Gonzalez; Rick Zepeda; Matt Dunn; David Ochoa; Bobby Bellamy; Gordon Hamlow; Mark Pasquerella; Richard Wiard; Jim Bonds; Frank Mazzotta; Dick Shehan; Victor Santa Cruz; Andy George; George Zedan; Bryce Jones; Darren Murphy; Kevin Smith; Tony and Andy Nieto; Mike Moschetti; Jim Zurn; Kenny Kendrena; John Knott; Scott Higuera and the late Walt Martin, Tony Zane and so many more.
All you guys made my job so much easier. We both had our jobs and you let me do mine, and for that I’ll always be grateful.
I’ll will definitely miss game time, whether it be football on Friday nights, or a mid-week basketball or baseball game.
There are so many big games in 30 years that there simply is not enough space to talk about them all. But back in the early 2000s, there was nothing like a Charter Oak-Los Altos football game. It was our version of Ohio State-Michigan and to them, meant just as much. I’ll miss that, but also walking into Kiefer Stadium on a Friday night, or any one of our high school stadiums, basketball gyms or baseball/softball fields.
Some would say, it’s just high school sports. But not for the athletes and I tried to treat and cover them as I would the Rose Bowl Game or Dodger and Angel games I was fortunate to cover. I also got a big kick out those athletes who made it big. I guess because they acted as motivation for all the others.
I will also miss covering a sport that grew on me — wrestling — and how much respect I have for those athletes that it is hard to put in words. I’ll repeat just what a local football coach told me about the difference between wrestling and baseball, football or basketball. “Those are play sports,” he said. “They are fun. But wrestling or track, those are work sports.”. So true.
And one thing I will carry as a badge of honor: I was able to cover the son (Nin Burns Jr.) of an athlete (Nin Burns) I covered in the early years. Some would say that means you’re old. I think it’s kind of neat.
I also need to pay homage to those whom I worked for and with over the years. From my first supervisor Steve Hunt, to our present Sports Editor Tom Moore to my colleague, supervisor and friend Fred Robledo; and Aram Tolegian and Keith Lair. You two also have made this a fun place to work.
I want to give special thanks to Steve Hunt, who if it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be here today. At every turn over these last 30 years, it was Steve who trusted me with a new responsibility and new duty.
First as a young freelancer 30 years ago who happened to answer a newspaper ad looking for writers to cover high school football games. Then after a few years as a freelancer, it was Steve who hired me full time, first on the sports copy desk and later to cover high schools and then to be part of our Rose Bowl and college football coverage, which I did for five years.
Thanks Steve for all you did for me. I won’t forget it.
I will also miss the high school sports readers. I’ve always appreciated your passion and love for high school sports. Also a special thanks for those who would see me at an event and took the time to say “hi” and that they appreciated the work I’ve done. Compliments like that make it all worth while. Remember, it’s really you who we all are here for. I’ll remember that, because I’m really not going anywhere. I’ll be here, just in a different part of the newspaper.
But as Denzel Washington said in the film “John Q,” “It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later.”