Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Another top-five moment is (hopefully) just a year away

It seems hard to believe that one year from now, if all goes according to plan anyway, I’ll be on my way to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
As I’ve stated numerous times, I am more than excited to get the chance to cover another Olympics and I’m grateful to everyone who helped me make it to my first one and who is helping to make it possible to go to a second one.
That being said, I thought it would be a good time to recount my top five moments from this job, which I’ve now been in for somewhere around 15 years.
Number five came last winter when the Brewster basketball team played in a tournament in the TD Garden in Boston. Covering the Brewster hoop team is a lot of fun, not just because they are perennial national championship contenders, but also because coach Jason Smith runs a great program and their a class act all the way. What made this tournament great was the chance to stand on the fabled parquet floor, the floor once used by greats like Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. It was pretty cool to walk out of the tunnel and into the middle of this massive arena and just be able to walk up to the parquet and stand on it.
Number four would probably be the first combined skiing championship, which took place back in 2004. The NHIAA decided to crown not just individual team champions in alpine, Nordic and jumping, but also offer a combined trophy for the school with the best performance. After slalom and giant slalom for the boys and girls, Nordic classical and freestyle for the boys and girls and jumping, the final point difference was four points, with Kennett claiming the title over Hanover. I remember a lot of intense moments of coaches calculating and remember the great sense of school pride it instilled, since all disciplines were out cheering for the others at their respective events.
Number three is probably my first trip to Florida with the Kingswood baseball team. I did this on the spur of the moment, the spring before I went to the 2014 Olympics. I booked a flight, hotel and rental car and spent three days in the sunshine of Florida, a great escape from what had been a pretty long winter at that point. I’ve been back twice since and enjoyed the trips, but the first one always holds a special spot.
Number two came a couple of years ago at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. A woman entered the media center and asked if anyone wanted a ride in the pace car. It was hard to say no to that opportunity, even though I’d done it once before. The difference was this time, it wasn’t an SUV, it was a car and that meant we went even faster. Coming out of the turns just inches from the wall was exhilarating and scary, all at the same time. Driving 85 on the highway can’t come close to 100 down the backstretch of NHMS just inches from a concrete wall.
Number one is obviously the 2014 Winter Olympics. From the moment I got approved for credentials in October 2012 through the final day I was in Russia, it was an amazing experience. I can’t sum up just how awesome it was to have the great support of the community along the way. There are few things I am going to forget about that trip, even if parts of it were a blur. But seeing the greatest athletes in the world on the biggest stage, up close and personal, was just a dream and something I am more than excited to get to do again.

It will be here soon enough.

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