Taking my final bow|Commentary

Published 10:01 pm Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sports Editor

As the final minutes tick away of my nearly decade-long stint as Sports Editor of the Washington Daily News, a flood of memories rushes over me.
I’ve had the privilege of covering two state champions in wrestling, Justin “Weasel” Moore and Marquin Hill. Moore became the all-time winningest wrestler in Pam Pack history.
I had the honor of seeing the Plymouth Vikings win a state football championship.
The Williamston Tigers came close in football and baseball during my time here, as did the Southside football team.
Calvin Daniels became Washington’s all-time scoring leader during my stay.
I had the good fortune of covering the Shrine Bowl, a collection of the finest high school football athletes in North Carolina and South Carolina.
I was paid to watch the Carolina Panthers play, had the pleasure of talking with Drew Brees (quarterback of the Super Bowl champion, New Orleans Saints) and see my friend, Terrance Copper, play professionally.
Getting to cover the Charlotte Bobcats and seeing my buddy Damien Wilkins (then of the Oklahoma City Thunder and now of the Minnesota Timberwolves) play was a thrill.
I’ve had conversations with pro baseball player Ryan Zimmerman, a homegrown product playing with the Washington Nationals.
There’s been a handful of times when I’ve been to Kinston Indians games to see professional players out there. My biggest thrill was watching Brad Snyder play, a guy I actually covered when he played high school ball in Ohio.
I’ve been to countless ECU baseball games. Watching Trent Whitehead, a former Pam Pack star, blossom has meant a ton to me. Luckily for Pirates fans, Trent will be back with ECU next year.
Getting to see C.J. Wilson grow from a solid athlete at Northside High School to a standout defensive end with the ECU Pirates to a member of the Green Bay Packers is something I’ll never forget. It’s so gratifying when good things happen to good people.
There’s an abundance of memories of outstanding individual and team performances at the high school ranks that I’m taking with me.
I had the great pleasure of covering an EXCEL game. The smiles on those exceptional children will go with me wherever I go.
There have been several people in sports I’ve had the privilege of working with over the years. It all started with Jason Boyd, who taught me so much during his tenure. I will forever be grateful.
Sports writers like John Swartz, Stephen Schramm and Steven Franklin have kept this job fun. The last few years have been spent with Brian Haines, who knows more about sports than any person I know. He’s a terrific guy who will do a great job here.
I became close with a lot of coaches and a lot of players. At times, that can bring heartache. Seeing kids like Trent Watkins of Washington and Southside’s Neal Whitney lose their lives at such a young age breaks the heart.
The schools and their families are doing a great job keeping their spirits alive. They may be gone, but I’ll never forget them.
When I picture Trent and Neal, I see them smiling. That’s how I remember them. And I will always remember them.
I want to thank you, the readers, for being gracious and kind. A special thank you to those who sent cards and called up with well wishes. Mrs. Moore (Weasel’s grandmother), your message nearly brought me to tears. God bless you.
A big thank you to Washington coaches Sport Sawyer, Jon Blank, Jimmy Kozuch, Doug Whitehead and Allison Jones, along with assistant principal Casey Corey, for taking me to lunch and presenting me with the plaque on my final day here. Go Pam Pack!
Of course, I have to thank my Mumsy, my biggest fan (and biggest critic). Whether it’s a column or a baseball story, she will read it and, if she deems it worthy enough, she’ll pass it on to family (like Aunt Willy and Uncle John) and friends (like Bill and Sally).
I’m leaving, but I won’t forget the athletes here. You better believe I’ll continue to follow these teams, and such great athletes like Washington’s Jake Duke, Haley Hiatt, Beth Batchelor, Marquin Hill, Rachel Cantrell, Emily Lobos and Hannah Sandy, Northside’s Taylor Woolard, Lilyann Arnold and Jordan Woolard, Southside’s Savannah Mumford and so many more.
You guys have always made me proud, and I know you’ll continue to do the same.
I might be leaving, but I’m leaving with a ton of memories and some great friendships that I’ll never let go.
Kevin Travis was the Sports Editor of the Washington Daily News for nearly a decade. He will be the Sports Editor of the New Bern Sun Journal. You may reach him at kevtrav77@yahoo.com.