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Senior sports writer will miss covering local kids most

Way back in the late fall of 1994, I was offered the opportunity to work as a part-time reporter at the Adirondack Daily Enterprise. I thought it would be fun dabbling in the field again after stepping away from writing for almost a decade.

When I started, most of my time on the job revolved around covering sports, which is a huge passion of mine. My beat also included reporting on the happenings in the towns of Franklin and Brighton.

I went to the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Committee meetings and did some feature writing as well. Really, I was just enjoying the atmosphere of being in a newsroom of a daily paper and earning some extra money.

I was friends with the Enterprise’s editor at the time, John Penney, and it was at his invitation that I took the job. Back then, I had no clue that nearly 27 years later, I would be leaving what turned into an incredible career that has encompassed almost half of my life.

During my time here, I’ve gone from a part-timer to a full-time position that included covering sports, writing news stories, editing, proofreading and laying out pages, and photographing everything under the sun. I think the only thing I didn’t learn to do working at the Enterprise was make one of those old-time newspaper hats that I’ve often joked about with the press guys.

First and foremost, the thing that has made the job incredible for me is the thousands of wonderful people I have crossed paths with the way. It’s been an emotional ride the last few weeks, knowing that my full-time job at the Enterprise and the Lake Placid News was coming to an end on May 28. During the past several days, I’ve received numerous thank-yous and congratulations from people in the community who’ve appreciated the effort I have put into my writing and my photography.

But from my standpoint, that gratitude should be turned back in their direction. It’s been a great ride, and I have our newspapers’ readers to thank. And I am also extremely grateful to the dozens of reporters and editors I have worked with over the years who have helped me become more. I’m especially thankful to our recently retired publisher Cathy Moore, who put up with my shenanigans years ago and had faith in me.

When I first started, I was a pretty shy reporter. I remember in my early days, I nervously approached people asking for quotes. I was afraid to get up in front of a large gathering to snap a few photographs. Today, I can safely say that I’ve become a lot more confident talking to people, and especially folks I meet for the first time. I’ve evolved from being unsure of myself on the job to being quite confident in my role.

During a career as a reporter in the North Country that has spanned 26-and-a-half years, my life has definitely changed for the better. In the communities of Saranac Lake, Lake Placid and Tupper Lake and beyond, I have made a countless amount of friends. To those who know my name and I’ve forgotten yours more than once, I deeply apologize, but I will always remember your faces. I’ve made friends with people who are no longer with us, and I’ve become friends with folks who will be around long after I’m gone.

As a sports writer and sports photographer, this job has been a dream come true. I’ve been able to cover three Olympics, setting up shop in Salt Lake City, Vancouver and Sochi, Russia. I’ve been to the big leagues in that regard.

But as a member of the Tri-Lakes community, including my hometown of Saranac Lake, I’ve made it to the big leagues here as well. During the summer months, I’ve been able to watch and talk to world-class equestrian jumpers at the Lake Placid horse shows each year, and I’ve seen the best of the best lacrosse players competing at the Summit tournaments each August. And tops on that summer list — I’ve always been super-excited when the rugby family converges on Saranac Lake for the annual Can-Am tournament.

In the winter, I’ve been in the thick of it at Mount Van Hoevenberg when World Cup and World Championship bobsledding and luge have come to Lake Placid. At Whiteface Mountain, I’ve photographed elite snowboarders, and alpine and freestyle skiers. I’ve interviewed young elite hockey players who have turned into NHL stars. I covered a New York Islanders preseason training camp, I’ve covered Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers practices at the Olympic Center, and I’ve really enjoyed big-time college hockey during March at the ECAC championships.

In short, there have been so many sports at so many levels happening year round, it’s been a paradise for me working in this field.

But I think what I’ll miss the most is covering the young student-athletes in our communities. The kids I was covering when I first started, I’m watching their kids competing now. I saw three nephews come through some very successful Red Storm football programs. I followed my daughter when she was a starting defender on the most successful girls high school soccer team in Saranac Lake history. Those are things I’ll never forget.

Hopefully I will have the opportunity to do some freelance writing and photography in the future, but until then, this is last issue of the Lake Placid News that I officially helped on the street as an employee of this company.

To the kids, the coaches, the parents, the teachers and even the refs, from the Tri-Lakes and across the entire North Country, you have all been awesome. I loved my job the most because of you. I never got rich financially, but I feel like the most fortunate person in the world when it comes to being appreciated.

It’s been a wonderful journey. Thank you so, so much.