Goodbyes aren't easy, and I refuse to write a going-away column.
Instead, I dug up some old videos (and some fresher ones) to take a look back on the last six years. First, let's start with a request that kind of inspired this "Throwback Thursday."
Kelvin Nieves of William Penn mentioned he was looking for this video, so Kelvin here it is:
This was my first meeting with Nieves. As you can see, the emotion was written over his face. Later, I met his girlfriend, Lexi, for a story on former William Penn cheerleader Q'ajaniyah Miller. Of the stories I've written the last six years, this one meant a lot. Also kudos must be given to photographer Chris Dunn, whose outstanding work helped bring Q's story to light. Thanks also go to editor Scott Blanchard, the hidden gem of the York Daily Record. His guidance in storytelling is immeasurable.
There were others stories, such as Central York graduate Sam Koimene. A thank you goes out to former Central hurdler Jay Stone, now at East Carolina, for breaking the ice. Sam ran track at Central while John Clayton was still our high school sports reporter. My duties consisted of editing stories, but a few times sports editor Chris Otto allowed me to escape.
One time provided the best York County high school football game I witnessed ...
Other opportunities offered the unusual.
And memories that now tug at your heart.
Dover volleyball coach Barb Grady died after her fight with ovarian cancer in 2012. Steve Navaroli wrote this story on her, near her final days. Steve had just been diagnosed with throat cancer at the time.
Of course, with Steve, I gained a friend for life.
In the spring of 2013, it seemed like every West York game was a comeback. The Bulldogs ran off a Cinderella postseason to capture their second straight PIAA championship. (Please excuse the grainy still image, which is from an outdated video player. The videos should still play fine.)
After that, the state championship game seemed like a letdown.
That week amazed Steve. It was our second trip to State College in a week. Northeastern volleyball was our first trip.
Steve thought nothing would top that experience. A year later, he started claiming nothing would beat having two boys' volleyball teams -- Central York and Northeastern -- sweep the PIAA.
Of course, Northeastern made it a threepeat this year.
Also got to see one of Pennsylvania's top wrestlers in state history complete a perfect career and fourth straight PIAA title.
This also was impressive. Makes you wonder if Lynne Mooradian can win four YAIAA golds for a third straight year next spring.
Finally, those who know me, know I'm a basketball junkie. How could I not include some basketball memories. We'll start with C.J. Boxley's circus shot that gave York Suburban a share of the YAIAA Division III title in 2013. The best part might be assistant coach Joe Hasenfuss yelling that they are running the wrong play.
Then there is William Penn's incredible Class AAAA run through the District 3 tournament. Two years after the Bearcats' run to the state final, they captured the district crown in Hershey.
In 2013, they got back to Hershey for a classic with Harrisburg. This became the first of three straight district final appearances.
The Bearcats currently own the last two district championships. If they win again in February, they would become the first big school to win three straight boys' District 3 titles since Reading won three from 1955-57.
Lastly, this summer brought a chance to catch up with three former high school athletes who have been battling something much bigger than anything on a field or court: cancer. When Peter Falci at Central York and Marcus Josey at Northeastern learned of their diagnosis, the poise they and their parents showed in conversations -- within a day or two of the news -- was staggering.
Marcus, Peter and Maddie Hill are three more people I will never forget.
Thank you for the memories and, in particular, former YDR sports editor Chris Otto for the opportunities in York. He brought me in from Ohio, where I now return.
Take care of yourselves.