Working in the community newspaper industry for nearly four years, I’ve always been one to embrace change.
While my duties as a sports writer for the Redmond and Bothell-Kenmore Reporter Newspapers have changed slightly over the years, one thing has never changed: My commitment to covering the local high school sports scene to the best of my ability.
I’ve always felt that our sports section was one of our strong suits and it was a very tough decision to leave such a wonderful community to take on a new career opportunity outside of journalism, effective April 6.
Going forward, the sports duties will be shared between the Reporter’s fearless editor (and new dad) Bill Christianson, who has a strong sports background, and our staff reporter, Samantha Pak, who will write occasional features.
I have no doubt that they will combine their efforts to deliver the same solid sports coverage you have seen for the last four years.
Looking back on my time here, it’s been filled with great memories that will stick with me forever:
• The Redmond High boys’ basketball team defying all odds and winning three straight loser-out games to make the state tournament and place fifth in 2009.
• Covering both of Mustang swimmer Heather Harper’s state breaststroke title wins, in 2008 and 2010.
• The pure elation of The Bear Creek School girls winning the 2B state soccer tournament just last fall in a thrilling shootout, and the tears of anguish after The Overlake School girls finished as the state runner-up back to back years in 2009 and 2010, each by a single goal.
The memories weren’t just reserved for the court, field or pool, either.
My story “The Ultimate Fighter” on former Bear Creek girls’ basketball coach, Alan Dickson – now with Cedar Park Christian School in Bothell – and his long battle with prostate cancer won a first-place award for sports feature writing.
This job has allowed me the opportunity to meet some of the sports world’s biggest personalities, from former WNBA superstar Sheryl Swoopes to Olympic silver medalist in gymnastics Jonathan Horton, as they both visited Redmond to inspire local youths.
But perhaps most importantly, I really cherished the connections I made and the relationships I developed with local coaches, athletic directors, and others in the prep sports community.
While it was a challenge at first, over time I fostered those relationships and got to know virtually all of the Redmond-area coaches on a first-name basis.
I’ll miss the intensity of basketball coach Jeff Larson and baseball coach Dan Pudwill firing up their teams as they rally in the fourth quarter or the seventh inning of Mustang ball games.
I’ll miss the friendly smiles and jovial natures of athletic directors John Appelgate, John Wiley and Chad Pohlman as they always got me what I needed while balancing the demands of a job so crucial for the success of student-athletes.
Now that I’m leaving the Reporter (but not the area), I can say without fear of journalistic repercussions that I will forever be a Mustang, Owl and Grizzly fan for life.
Thank you everyone for your readership and support, and may the upcoming years bring many more wins and positive influences on our kids through sports.
Tim Watanabe is the sports writer for the Redmond Reporter. His last day at the Reporter is April 6. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.