Last week I received an email from a former area sports editor, Mike Murphy. I have never met him but he frequently drops me notes on the area sports scene and I appreciate it.
He reminisced about the 1975 state track meet at Bakersfield College.
Coincidentally, I covered that meet for the San Mateo Times. I related how a San Jose Mercury prep writer, Rick Vacek, spent 90 minutes laboriously typing the results of each event which went five places deep.
Finally, Vacek finished and pressed send on his ancient Radio Shack word processor. Simultaneously, the copy editor back at his paper said, “The AP just sent all the results.” Vacek’s response can’t be repeated but he was quite exasperated. We all laughed about it later.
This had me thinking that I have been banging out results and my pearls of wisdom for, gulp, 46 years and I’ve seen some crazy stuff.
Back in college I was a part-timer in San Mateo and got paid $7.50 per story. Before I give anyone here any ideas, I’ll also mention that in 1975 a gallon of gas cost 57 cents and a 12-pack of my favorite beverage was $1.99.
Anyway, one zany moment came while covering the Sand Dune Basketball Classic at St. Ignatius High in San Francisco.
A player ran into an electrical box on the end wall and activated the basket, which began rising to the ceiling. The expression on the opposing guard returning on the fast break when there was no hoop was memorable.
Not to be forgotten either was a football rivalry game between host South San Francisco High and El Camino. Don’t try this, kids, but some reprobate thought it was cute to blow up the scoreboard with a pipe bomb right before the national anthem. I still recall the hunks of metal flying to midfield.
At San Jose Archbishop Mitty, an unusual tule fog rolled in during the second half, completely enveloping the football field. It was so thick I could not see the players. The accuracy of my statistics for that game I cannot guarantee.
Covering the Western Regional Little League title game in San Bernardino in the early 2000s, I got a big surprise. Sipping on a soda during pre-game, a bee climbed out of my aluminum can and stung me on the lip. Yeaa-owww! My lip swelled and I’m not sure my post-game questions were understandable, but I muddled through.
There have been no disappearing baskets nor bee attacks in my first three months here, but it’s been fun. There was the late basket by Aquinas’ Sheldon Grant to win the section title … and Redlands East Valley’s Liam Mapes roaring from behind to win the section 3,200 meters. I got to see Yucaipa upset Citrus Valley in football ... and soak in the sentiment of Beaumont Senior Night soccer.