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From Left Field: From reliever to starter

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By The Staff

From reliever to starter

As we close the book on 2008, it's a good time to look back at all that has happened in Washington County sports during the past 366 days. But since I have only been here at The Springfield Sun for the past 205 days, my reflections will be somewhat limited.

When I first arrived, I was thrust head-first into the tail end of youth league baseball and softball. It was like dying and going to baseball heaven. It was a lot of fun watching the kids hit the diamond. Playoffs was also a blast and it was a thrill to following the 11-12-year-old baseball All-Stars to Louisville for the state tournament where they finally won a game at the state level.

Before I knew it, it was time for football season. I spent each Friday night on the sidelines with the Commanders as they tried out a new style of offense that put plenty of points on the board. Although the season ended after the first round of playoffs, it was a lot of fun watching the team each week as several players earned state recognition for their talents.

At the same time, I was thrown into volleyball season. I must admit that I never watched much volleyball before, but I quickly became a fan and learned to appreciate the hard work and dedication the girls put into the sport.

Now we have basketball season, and although it's taking me some time to adjust, I'm learning to like that sport as well.

I started 2008 by covering athletics at Forest Park College in St. Louis, Mo. and now I’m covering their former opponent in the NJCAA in St. Catharine.

Tom Bystrek has been more than helpful in his role as sports information director for SCC and is always accomodating when I show up to cover a game or quick to send something in if the Patriots are on the road.

Tom used to occupy this space before I got here and some folks are quick to remind me of the legacy he left behind. There’s nothing like working under pressure, is there?

If anything, 2008 has been an expansion of my appreciation of sports. Before I became sports writer for The Sun, I was primarily a baseball fan who couldn’t have cared less about golf, basketball, soccer, hockey or other sport.

But as I look off into the horizon, I can see 2009 quickly approaching as the final few hours tick away. I’m hoping the new year will bring an even greater appreciation of sports as I increase my sports knowledge.

The past six months have been fun and rewarding, but I can’t help but feel like a reliever who got called into the game to nail down the win.

There’s a certain pride when you’re named to the starting team. It’s a chance to show that you have what it takes to be the go-to guy. It’s a clean scorecard as a new year begins and you’re the one responsible for how things get off to a start.

That’s how I see 2009. It’s time for a new year with a new start, and as I close out 2008 as the new guy, I think I’m ready to claim 2009 for myself. I just need to keep the manager from making that dreaded call to the bullpen while I’m on the mound! Have a happy and safe new year!