I went to work for the Union-Bulletin on Sept. 1 of 1968, and my very first assignment was to interview Whitman College coach Roy Thompson at a practice field adjacent to Borleske Stadium for a story in the next day’s paper about the Missionaries’ football team.
A few days later, I met Felix Fletcher at the Wa-Hi campus and interviewed the legendary Blue Devils football coach for a preview story I wrote on that weekend’s game.
As I look back now after all of the years, I’m gratified to know that was a pretty impressive one-two punch to start out one’s daily newspaper journalism career.
With the exception of one hot summer spent in Phoenix, Ariz., in the early 1970s, I’ve worked for the Union-Bulletin ever since that first day of September in 1968. I’ve gone from part-timer to full-timer to sports editor and now, in my “Golden Years,” I’m once again on part-time status.
And enjoying every minute of it.
In this most recent — and last — role with the U-B, I get to write columns and feature stories on a regular basis, stories I never seemed to find the time to write as the lead person in the sports department. At the same time I am able to keep a hand in the daily operation of the paper by helping out whenever the staff is shorthanded or the workload is heavy.
My strength as a small-town sports journalist, as I see it, is that I know the territory. Sports traditions run deep in this valley, and I’ve been a first-hand observer over the past 45 years. I try to put this knowledge to good use whenever I can.
My wife Margaret and I have seven children, 20 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren who keep us busy. We also love to travel, which we are now able to do more often.
In my spare time, I’m a regular at the YMCA fitness center and a semi-regular on the golf course.
Nineteen-year-old Derek Kolbaba has already cashed his first Frontier Days Rodeo check. The 2014 Wa-Hi graduate finished fourth in last year’s bull riding event in the Walla Walla Fairgrounds arena and earned $1,230.46 for his trouble. He’s setting his sights higher Sunday night when he comes out of the rough stock chutes during the final moments of this year’s Frontier Days.
The Walla Walla Exchange Club is back in the golf business.
Any weekend duffer who ever played a $2 Nassau could identify with Dustin Johnson’s internal debate as he hovered over a makeable 12-foot eagle putt on the 18th green Sunday during the final round of the U.S. Open at much-maligned Chambers Bay.
If Curt Hisaw has a bumper sticker on his 1994 one-ton Dodge pickup, it most likely reads Gone Fishing. Or, perhaps even more appropriate these days, I’d Rather Be Fly Fishing. “I am almost obsessed with fly fishing,” says the 69-year-old Spokane native. “It’s almost spiritual to be standing out in that stream. I love it so much.” But Curt’s angling avocation took a sharp detour from the Spokane Valley’s lakes and streams earlier this spring when his eldest son, Walla Walla High’s Eric Hisaw, put an arm around his father’s shoulder and asked for a favor.
Leading up to Sunday’s NCAA South Regional championship game in Houston, college basketball expert Dick Vitale of ESPN sized up the Gonzaga-Duke game thusly:
This is always the time of year when Phil Reser gets that spring-training itch.
Having a freshman as your go-to players might not be all bad, especially when you begin the discussion about next year.
WWCC gets bounced from the NWAC Championships in the opening round by Clark on Saturday.
Mac-Hi hasn’t had a winning record in boys basketball since the 2003-04 season when Chris Meyers guided the Pioneers to a 15-7 record in the last of his four years as head coach.
Walla Walla erases a 15-point second-half deficit to claim the East Region championship.