Wow. Just seems like last Monday and Mike Roberts of CHBC TV was interviewing me outside Vernon Senior Secondary School.
You see, I was editor of the Vernon Panther, judged by the Vancouver Province and Langara College journalism program, to be the best high school newspaper in B.C.
The late Paul King was a fabulous journalism teacher and inspired me to seek a career in the media. I’ve rarely regretted the journey.
Don Kendall, then the sports editor at the Vernon Daily News who later helped found this paper, offered me part-time work covering high school sports in Grade 12. I would get 20 cents per copy inch. I averaged about $20 so it was basically gas and beverage money.
I was also editor of the VSS yearbook in Grade 11, so a life in newspapers appeared to be in the works.
Here I am, some 37 years later, writing another New Year’s column. I have been blessed with decent health, extraordinary parents, three loving brothers, three wonderful children, fabulous friends and a job which I adore 95 per cent of the time. Every day brings something different, challenging and stimulating.
I’ve been fortunate enough to cover two Olympics, one Stanley Cup final, scores of Canuck training camps and games, and interview thousands of amazing athletes, some professionals, most amateur.
On those mornings after hockey, when I’ve hardly slept, I’m no fun to be around. The hole in the door to the lunch room is still there, six or seven years after one of my meltdowns after a screw-up (not mine this time) in the sports pages.
It’s a unique job in that there are 38,000 potential readers in the North Okanagan. Another few thousand online. Make an error and everybody sees it.
However, we live in a close, caring community where most people are here to see others through and not see through anyone. Our stories entertain and often make a difference. Hope you like them.
Here then, for your entertaining pleasure, are some of the finest quotes from the 2012 sports world….
– Giselle Bundchen, super model and wife of Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady, after the Super Bowl: “My husband cannot throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time. I can’t believe they dropped the ball so many times.”
– Brandon Jacobs of the New York Giants, responding to Bundchen’s criticism: “She just needs to stay cute and shut up.”
– Mike Trout, Angels outfielder, on living with his parents during the off-season: “No curfew. I live in the basement. I got everything I need. Home cooking… it’s awesome.”
– Juli Inkster of the LPGA on how she was spending her time while recovering from elbow surgery and not playing golf: “The poor dog is walked to death. Every time I grab the leash, she just cringes.”
– Bubba Watson, after winning the Masters on the second hole of a playoff: “I never got this far in my dreams.”
– Watson, asked why he never asks his longtime caddie, Ted Scott, to help with his swing? “He’s not very good. That’s why he’s a caddie.”
– Chris Singleton of the Washington Wizards, about buying 10,000 one-dollar Mega Million lottery tickets after the jackpot reached $640 million: “It was either that or blowing it in the clubs.”
– Zoltan Szecsi, goal keeper for the Hungarian water polo team at the Olympics: “They picked me for a doping test. They simply cannot believe such a great body can be built without any banned stuff.”
– Wayne Elliott, NFL replacement official, who gave Seattle a last-second victory over Green Bay: “I’d probably call interception now. I learned a rule by screwing up a rule.”
– Ed Hochuli, NFL official and also a trial lawyer, when asked if he watched any football during the officials’ strike: “I don’t watch a lot of football for fun. I’ve tried, but I’m always looking to see if the left tackle is holding.”
– Jeffrey Loria, baseball Marlins owner, after trading three starters to Toronto, largely for prospects: “We finished in last place. Figure it out.”
– Jamie Moyer, 49-year-old pitcher, when asked the last time he hit a batter intentionally: “Maybe in the minor leagues. With my velocity, they would pick it up and say, ‘Hey, you dropped something.’”
– Jay Feaster, NHL Flames GM, on the confrontational image of New York Rangers coach John Tortorella: “He was born without the politically correct gene.”
– Barcelona and Argentina superstar striker Lionel Messi: “I am more worried about being a good person than being the best football player in the world. When all this is over, what are you left with?”
– Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg called Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and asked him why he wasn’t shutting down RGIII in order to save him for next year.
– Comedy writer TC Chong of Vancouver: “Singer LeAnn Rimes is in the news after her husband’s ex-wife accused Rimes of a secret addiction to laxatives. Oh well, it was bound to come out in the end.”
– Comedy writer Jerry Perisho: “One of my favorite parts about Christmas is singing carols. My favorite Christmas carol is dedicated to Tiger Woods: ‘I’m dreaming of a White Mistress.’”
– Comedy writer Alan Ray: “It’s taking some time for the guy who runs the L.A. Lakers to learn the names of the players. But enough about Kobe.”
– Comedy writer Gary Bachman: “Hillary Clinton suffered a concussion. Out of habit, Roger Goodell blamed the Saints.”
– “A department-store Santa in Toronto was fired after telling a three-year-old boy wearing a Maple Leafs cap that “you shouldn’t be wearing that – they suck.” So you see, kids, Santa Claus is not only real, he’s real honest. – Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times.
– “Here is something scary. Yesterday they found 42 dead bats. You know where? The Detroit Tigers’ dugout.” – Jay Leno of NBC.