At the risk of sounding cliché, time really does fly.
It was Oct. 4, 2000 when I first set foot inside the Capital News, no doubt looking a little like a deer in the headlights, yet eager and intrigued at the prospects of wading into my first job in the newspaper business.
Not that I was at all new to the industry—I had worked in both radio and television for the previous 18 years—but I knew this change in mediums was going to be both an interesting and challenging adjustment.
Barry Gerding, our managing editor at the time, was taking a chance on hiring an ex-broadcaster with virtually no print experience.
But Barry, being the eternal and supportive optimist (or maybe I was his only choice?) was counting on my background and experience, mostly in sports reporting, to fit the bill.
It wasn’t long before I discovered that reporting for a newspaper afforded me opportunities I hadn’t enjoyed in the electronic media. With pen and pad in hand, I could be curious, even a little intrusive and nosy in evoking the thoughts and feelings of those with fascinating and inspirational stories to tell.
One of the earliest features I wrote was about a local fireman, Eric Simpson, who survived a lengthy and excruciating battle with cancer, then emerged from the disease to become one of the valley’s top Ironman triathletes.
Then there was Delilah Topic, a Kelowna oncologist whose courage and perseverance can’t be measured. Battling the effects of diabetes and a rheumatoid bone condition—while also running on a badly broken foot—she won two medals at the World Masters Games in New Zealand.
They are just two of the multiple examples of people who often helped remind me that my own infinitesimal daily problems and concerns are, for the most part, insignificant, at best.
I’ve also been fortunate to work in an ultra sports-minded community, one that includes one of major junior hockey’s most successful and enduring franchises. The Kelowna Rockets gave me the chance to cover five Memorial Cups during my time at the Capital News, something only a select few sportswriters in the country could ever hope for.
I’ve often been asked what I liked most about this line of work. And again the answer is simple—the people.
The people I have had the privilege of writing about and the many people I’ve had the privilege of working alongside for 17-plus years at the Capital News.
Thanks again to Barry for hiring me and opening the door to a new and intriguing world. Thanks to his successors in the editor’s chair, Kevin Parnell and Kathy Michaels who continued to make the newsroom a fun and stimulating environment to work in, and to the always upbeat Alistair Waters who has been a valued fellow reporter from day one.
But the time has come to bid adieu. Time to move out from behind a desk and pursue a new and contrasting career.
With a shovel and wheelbarrow in hand, my work days in the landscaping business will now be consumed by physical labour. The true farm boy in me has resurfaced and I’m excited to get my fingers back in the dirt, so to speak.
But before that, I extend one last message to the Capital News and Kelowna’s sports community—thanks for the memories.