I’m sure by now, most if not all of our loyal Aegis sports readers and followers know that I am no longer in the business.
My wife, Rayma, and I agreed long ago that we wanted to live in the Myrtle Beach area of South Carolina, and we made a plan and stuck to it. That said, a 40-year career, including the past 33 as sports editor for The Aegis (26 years) and The Record newspapers, came to an end with my last day served on Dec. 16.
This is a career that spanned many days on a sideline, in a press box or a gymnasium. It started, however, in a pressroom in Havre de Grace with many thanks to Jim Quimby who hired me and the late Dave Brown, who in some sort of odd way, treated me like a son and not just a co-worker.
As days wore on and ink-stained hands and clothes were a daily problem, a position in the paste-up department opened and I was asked if I had any interest. The move was made and the next few years found me with clean hands and clothes and a pleasant working atmosphere.
In a short time, my skills and interest evolved, and I became an assistant to Record sports editors. I took photos at area games and made phone calls to many coaches, seeking game results for the week.
You are reading correctly, phone calls — and from a landline — in those mid-to-late 1980s.
In 1989, The Record sports editing job became vacant, and friend and Record editor Ted Hendricks suggested that I put my name in for it. His logic was simple, I had already done two-thirds of the job with taking pictures and gathering information. All I needed to do was put the information into story form and the rest as they say, is history.
To think back and remember how it all started will forever be etched in my mind.
Think about it, when I started writing sports, those athletes who were then seniors are reaching or are now 50 years old. Wow, just wow.
When I think about the hundreds of games that I witnessed, it almost seems unbelievable that I was anywhere and everywhere across Maryland. Heck, this job also took me to Kansas City, Missouri, to write about E.J. Henderson and his professional debut with the Minnesota Vikings.
The job also took me, along with co-workers Matt Button and Erika (Butler) Compton, to Boston on the chance that Cal Ripken Jr. might call it quits as this was the end of the Orioles season. Well, it wasn’t the end for Cal, but a good trip with good friends.
Most of the work, though, came right there in Harford County. Friday nights were busy from late August to early March as football and basketball scheduling made it so.
There were plenty of other days and nights also busy as the many other sports had their days as well. One of those other sports, wrestling, gave me one of the biggest highlights of my career. Watching and covering Aberdeen’s Matt Slutzky become the first Maryland public school wrestler to win four state championships was simply phenomenal.
It was the late 1990s when The Aegis went to twice-a-week publishing. That led to a three-person sports department which, looking back, were simply the glory days.
We covered any and all things and we welcomed any and all things sports related. The people who worked with, and I guess for me, will never be forgotten. I appreciate and thank each for making The Aegis a gem in Harford County.
As time moved on, so did the papers and how they were done. Weekly work became daily with transfer to the digital era, but we adapted and held our own. Sadly, as people started to leave the company for other jobs or schooling, the positions were not filled. Down to a two-person department, we still got it done.
Then in August 2014, I became a one-man sports department to handle two Aegis and one Record newspapers per week, with digital and online news taking top priority. So, the last eight years have been a lot of fun, but also hectic.
Let me just say, whether you were an athlete in 1990, 2022 or somewhere between, thank you for making my job an outright joy. To those parents and grandparents who gobbled up newspapers, thank you for supporting Harford County’s local newspaper. Coaches and athletic directors, thank you for working with me and helping me to do what is right for the kids.
Know this, my work was done with honesty, integrity and respect for all with the support of God and family.
Best of luck to Harford County athletes now and for many years to come. I’ll miss it, but someday you might just see me on the sideline again, just not working.