Two of the greatest sportswriters in South Dakota history - and there have been a lot of them - were retired Argus Leader scribes John Egan (1955-89) and Bruce Conley (1962-90).
To me, they were Batman and Robin.
Whatever they covered, they often painted a great picture.
And many times a masterpiece.
While others in my Bridgewater farming neighborhood were reading the Argus Leader sports pages back in the 1960s and '70s, I was looking at the bylines as well. For some reason, I liked knowing who was filling my need for South Dakota sports news.
Some people - me included - called the 1970s duo of 6-foot-6 South Dakota natives Lee Colburn and Dave Thomas the best forward combination in the history of North Central Conference basketball. As good as Colburn and Thomas were on the court, Egan and Conley were as good off of it covering the South Dakota State teammates.
Egan writing about the PGA Byrum brothers from Onida in 1986:
Tom and Curt Byrum gave both golf and geography lessons across the United States during 1986.
They not only became firmly ensconced among the 110 most successful professional golfers of the year, they had to answer one question with regularity: "Onida, South Dakota - where's that?"
Conley writing about first-year Armour girls' basketball coach Ron Weber and his State B champion Packers in 1984:
His coaching debut ended with a mdcourt celebration in the Watertown Civic Arena.
As I often do and did last weekend, I thought about my two retired friends - Conley finally retired for good in 2010 after another full career as news director at Augustana College from 1990 to 2010.
Not because it is state tournament time.
It was what happened during at the state tournament Friday night - thanks to my young American News teammate Ryan Deal.
Ryan was covering the State A Girls' Basketball Tournament in Spearfish. On Friday night, he had the late semifinal game in Spearfish between Miller and Parkston. The game did not start until about 9 Central time so I knew the American News deadline probably would be an issue.
Also, I knew Ryan would be under the gun to write his story and file it with us by email after the game. So I told him earlier in the day that either I or our teammate Shawn Werre would take care of typing the game statistics.
There were several sources who could provide us with the game statistics.
After the game - with the clock ticking - all of those sources failed. As I was editing the story, Ryan called in and I asked him to take a picture of the sheet of game statistics with his camera phone and text it to me.