Off the Press

March 6, 2012

By Bob Taylor

Time flies when making a lifetime of memories 

Bob Taylor Press sports editor

Mr. Hune was a very insightful teacher. In my ninth-grade yearbook he wrote “to a future newspaper reporter.”

How did he know?

I do not believe Mr. Hune, who taught the newspaper class at my junior high school, realized I would later venture into an enjoyable career that would last 40 years.

Forty years — sometimes it does not seem I just started yesterday. In 1972, when my career started, “The Godfather” was playing at most cinemas. Regular gasoline cost just 36 cents a gallon and postage stamps were only 10 cents. Three Dog Night and Moody Blues were some of the hit bands.

And on a sunny June afternoon in 1972 I graduated from Western Washington University. I had no time for the congratulations from two aunts who came to the graduation ceremony, because I had to go to work. I had recently been hired by the Bellingham Metropolitan, a new, enterprising, weekly newspaper that expected to challenge the established Bellingham Herald for the reading audience. My assignment was to write a story about the graduation. With diploma in hand, I raced to the office to write my first professional story on a Royal typewriter.

Well, I have written countless stories since then. To date, though, just one college graduation story.

I have filed a column from a World Series, covered a Major League All-Star game and numerous high school championship events. I have written articles about athletes, pastors, politicians, actors, musicians, bus drivers, war heroes and heroines, carpenters, mechanics, astronomers, firefighters, doctors, lawyers and yes, even, a Native American chief.

From that first job, I went on to become sports editor at the Bellingham Herald for two years. Then, it was to Colorado for seven months before returning to the Evergreen state. For almost 20 years I covered sports for the old Journal-American, a daily newspaper that was based in Bellevue. Although I had the Seattle Mariners’ beat for three different occasions, the University of Washington football beat for two years, and one year with the Seattle Sounders, most Eastside readers remember me as a high school sports writer.

After a stint as a teacher and a stopover at the Whidbey Island News-Times in Oak Harbor, I came to Issaquah 12 years ago.

There are a lot of great memories in my career, but I admit my happiest times as a journalist have been at The Issaquah Press. Prior to coming to The Press, I covered mainly sports. Although hired at The Press to mainly cover sports, I was given other feature writing assignments.

I have written personality features about local veterans, people who overcame incredible disabilities and a series about local clubs — you haven’t lived as a writer until you have written about smockers (Puget Sound Smocking Guild) and squakers (Squak Mountain Telescope Gang); and I did a series about local churches, which to date is the most ecumenical thing I have ever done.

On the latter, I met clergy who when informed I had cancer four years ago, put my name on their prayer lists. The fact I am still living, well, that shows there is power in prayer.

Through it all, my biggest supporters during this career have been my wife Pauline and son David. With all of the nights that I was away covering events, sometimes in the far reaches of the state, they never complained.

On the subject of high school coaches, the Issaquah School District is blessed with outstanding people. The coaches I have met are not just concerned about the win-loss ledger; they also are concerned about teaching their athletes life skills.

I will always cherish the support I received from so many people when I informed the public I had cancer.

I will always cherish the time the Issaquah High School girls soccer team, when it heard I was sidelined because of open-heart surgery in 2005, signed a get-well card and brought it to the office.

And the Liberty High School football team will always hold a special place in my heart. In 2007, the Patriots gave me an autographed football when I was recovering from a cancer stem-cell transplant. The football still sits prominently on my bedroom dresser.

Mr. Hune could not have guessed how fortunate I would become as a journalist. But I do believe he would be proud of me.

The late Bob Hope had a tune he always played when onstage — “Thanks for the Memories.”

To the Issaquah community and school district, I say, “Thank you for the memories.”

Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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