Still crazy (sort of) after all these years

Just the other day I was talking to Gogebic Community College men’s basketball coach Dennis Mackey after a game versus Finlandia University. 

Mackey, the former Ewen-Trout Creek High product, said he recalled me covering a Panthers game back in the day.

“You’ve been doing this for awhile, haven’t you?” he asked. “I think I was in junior high school at the time.”

Dennis, you have no idea how long I’ve been covering sports and news.

It was early November of 1965 when I was assigned to cover a Suomi College-Mackinac College game. The game at old Nikander Hall at Suomi was my first assignment as a stringer for the Daily Mining Gazette.

The landscape around here was considerably different than it is today.

Calumet & Hecla was still producing copper; the Bosch Brewery on the Houghton Canal was producing suds; and the strip malls along M-26 were still decades away. The highway was simply known as Van Orden Hill and had nothing but trees on both sides.

The hot spot in Hancock back then was the Koffee Kup, a place where all the young people hung out.

The “Kup,” as it was known, was also where I wrote out my first story on the back of couple of napkins (I had forgotten to take a notebook).

There was no such a thing as computers, notepads, fax machines, etc. in those days and I had to have the story back at the paper by 6 a.m.

Needless to say, things have changed in the communications business since.

You can now finish a story at the site of the game, if you wish, with a notepad and send it off. Take a picture at a game and send it via computer …. or even your telephone.

That doesn’t mean I still don’t do crazy things getting a story done.

But probably not as crazy as the state quarterfinal basketball tournament game between Ewen-Trout Creek and Harbor Springs in Petoskey in 1982.

Knowing it would be nearly impossible to get stories and pictures back in time, I decided to drive to Petoskey — and back — the same night.

The 13-hour trip got me back home by 4 a.m. There was enough time for a couple of hours of sleep before going to the office.

There was the time where I drove to Marquette in a snowstorm for a game. Literally froze watching a hockey game at the old Houghton County Arena. And stood in two inches of standing water at a football game in L’Anse while lightning flashed all around.

There were plenty of other cases where my sanity came into question covering games, but as the old saying goes “it would take three hours and a case of beer” to get into the details.

Now, with the clocking running down on my career, I can honestly say that old writers never die, they just fade away …..