There's an old saying that's been around forever: "Sooner or later, all good things come to an end."
After 48 years with the Lake Country Reporter, I'm writing this final column. I hope you think it was a good thing.
Since word got out, the social outpouring of support has been incredible, humbling at times. You know you did something right when you get over 200 emails of support in a span of less than 10 hours. Coaches and athletes have been ringing my phone off the hook.
I got the biggest break of my life in 1969 when Jim McLoone, the best weekly newspaperman in the state and owner of the Reporter, offered me a job to be the sports editor. He gave me a free run to make it the biggest and best high-school sports section in the state. And the two of us accomplished that, doing things no other paper had ever done. I owe Jim a lot and will be forever indebted to him for the opportunity he gave a young guy who loved sports.
Growing up in Hartland and being an Arrowhead graduate, I loved covering AHS sports. But I also had to not cross the line favoring the Warhawks, when we also covered two other big high schools in Lake Country, Pewaukee and Kettle Moraine.
I can honestly say I did that, and I'm sure former athletes and coaches at both of those schools would back me up. I'm proud of that.
But the thing I'm most proud of is how I covered girls sports. There were very, very few papers, if any, that wrote about high-school girls sports in 1970, the first year that they became a WIAA recognized varsity product. In December of 1975, I think I became the first writer to cover a girls high-school basketball game when Germantown played at Arrowhead in December.
Many times over the last 48 years, those girls games not only were covered, but got top billing with big pictures on the front page of the LCR sports section. That, I'm very proud of.
I'm not going to mention any names of coaches or great players or teams. They are too many to be fair. But I want everyone to know that I enjoyed every minute of all those games over all of the years. I still love doing it.
I'm also very proud that I covered all of those games for one reason: the kids, the athletes. I made a career of stressing the positive, ignoring the negative as much as I could. It wasn't about promoting myself or the schools. I did it all for the kids, and I'm taking that with me to a new challenge.
There were lots of people who made more money that I did over the years. Lots of them. But trust me on this one. Nobody, and I mean nobody, had a better job. Imagine covering high school sports in your hometown and neighboring towns. My office was just a few miles away. I absolutely loved every second of it.
It's been a wonderful and enjoyable 48 years writing about you and your sons and grandsons, your daughters and granddaughters.
Thank you to all the athletes, the coaches and the parents with whom I've enjoyed a brilliant working relationship. I'll never forget the relationships I've been fortunate to form with all of these people.
I had a great ride at the Reporter. And I'll still be out there, watching the kids play. You can follow me on Twitter at @ChuckDelsman and I'll share my thoughts at lakecountrysportsblog.wordpress.com.
Thanks for the memories.