The Saratoga Sun -

Radunich Rants and rambles: Reliving my youth in Saratoga

 


Well kids, it’s officially that time of the year again when school has recently started, yet you’re probably still missing your fun summer season like crazy. This was the time of the year I dreaded most as a kid. Mostly during junior high or high school, I always hated being back in school right after a long, fun summer break, and I remember getting that nervous, uneasy feeling in my stomach on the morning I had to go back to school. Well, it was more like I had that feeling for a whole week or two before school started again. I remember always hoping that time would somehow move slower during that time, or that something disastrous would happen to the school building, causing the original start date of school to happen much later. I wasn’t popular or “cool” and didn’t have many friends, so the social aspect that came with school was always a worry for me before it started. I also worried that the classwork or homework would be too hard, or that I would get too much of it, and I was scared that my teachers would be too strict and expect too much out of me. Let’s just say I had a ton of worries during those passing August days before each school year’s beginning, and most of them unfortunately became realities when the year finally started.

Adding to my misery, and this may sound strange coming from a sports reporter, I never really attended school sports events once I got into high school. It wasn’t because I didn’t enjoy them, since I did think watching kids my age compete and triumph over another team could be fun. It was, of course, my lame fear of being surrounded by a vast sea of cool, popular kids in the bleachers, and trying to fit in while saying all the wrong things in front of them. I look back now and think about how I missed some great live games in high school because of my stupid fears. I also think about the fun I missed by not sticking with a sports team in high school, simply because I didn’t think I could be good enough. My only experience in high school sports was running cross-country for two or three weeks as a sophomore, and I quit after thinking I wasn’t fast enough to matter. Looking back now, it would have been fun to stick with a sports team and get to compete against other schools, travel to different cities and actually get better and better at something. Being on a sports team would have also helped me make more friends, given me more confidence and made me more well-known around school.

Now that I am a grown adult man and the Saratoga Sun sports reporter, I can look forward to truly experiencing the world of high school sports. Obviously, I can’t experience the participation factor that I missed, but I can get to know the thrill of attending live games that I missed as a kid. In a way, I almost get to relive being a teenager all over again, but in a more positive manner. Of course, I don’t have to worry about actually going to school, making friends, peer pressure, being considered “cool” by classmates, and other things that come along with being a junior high or high school student. I only have to focus on the most fun stuff, meaning the school sports. This fall, I’m looking forward to covering games and events for football, volleyball, cross-country and golf, and I’m excited to interview student athletes one-on-one. I also look forward to following the teams as they possibly move further toward state, and actually getting to cover them once at state will be a huge, exciting thrill for me. In a vicarious sense, by watching the kids succeed and feel proud of their performances, I’ll almost be able to fulfill that glorious feeling I never experienced in school sports, yet always wanted to achieve. Getting to actually write about team successes for the whole Valley to read will also be a plus, and it will be fun to hear the kids call out, “Hey, ‘Newspaper Guy!’” to me at each event.

As you can tell, I’m pretty happy that as a much more mature adult I can finally experience the thrill of live high school sports I missed when I was younger, and without all the worries I once had. I feel lucky to be getting a second chance to experience all the fun and camaraderie I never got to have all those years ago.

 

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