Three rotations of the Sun

Albert Einstein once said “Time is an illusion” and I don’t think those words have ever been truer than in 2020. 

With only one week left in the year, I’m still having trouble wrapping my head around the fact that it isn’t March or April. Indeed, after March 13–a Friday–it seems as if all time just became a little more fluid. Time has passed so quickly, yet so slowly, this year that I almost forgot that next week will be my three year anniversary with the Saratoga Sun.

That’s right, January 2 will mark three rotations of the sun that I’ve been with, well, the Sun.

In some ways, it doesn’t seem like it was that long ago when I sat in my car waiting for my new boss, Keith McLendon, to come walking down Bridge Avenue to let me in the office. Nor does it seem that long ago that I started having to learn how to write sports, which was something I was never quite interested in when I was in high school.

Oh, how things change!

It dawned on me this past weekend, while I was watching Saratoga host Guernsey-Sunrise, that I have been watching this current batch of seniors since they were freshmen. I have watched as team leaders like Dalton Peterson and Teegan Love and Gavin Bartlett have grown from fresh-faced and energetic players into the experienced upperclassmen that they are today.

As I stood in the Panther Den on Friday, snapping away with a camera, I also thought back to the second basketball game I covered but the first at Saratoga Middle High School. It was just after the New Year and Saratoga was hosting Encampment. I, being new to the profession, wasn’t quite sure where to stand or even if I could stand on the court.

Turns out, that little press pass really helps.

My mom, the former editor and publisher of the Sun, had decided to attend that game as well. When she entered the gym, she spotted me sitting on the floor with my back against the wall. She immediately explained to me that I needed to be moving around. Further, since I was covering both teams, I would need to go from one end of the court to another following each quarter.

This is something I still do to this day and will do when I’m asked to take photos of a team for another newspaper as a favor as well.

The one part of that game that sticks in my mind the most, however, is how it ended.

Of course, the game was a nailbiter as both teams wanted a conference win that night. When Saratoga secured a home-court win in overtime, however, the Panther fans went wild and came pouring onto the court.

I looked at my mom to mouth “Wow!” while she, in either mom mode or editor mode, began yelling at me to “Take the picture!” while pointing at the celebrating crowd.

Since then, I’ve been lucky to get some pretty decent shots. That same year, I snagged a series of photos that documented Wyatt Cox’s slam dunk during his final home game of his career. I also, a year later, got a photo of Sam Schneider dunking the ball in the Panther Den.

While I had hoped the latter would win some sort of photography award, it didn’t.

This year, in particular, has been probably the most interesting so far. Of course, in March, I was able to document history itself as the Saratoga Panthers became State Champions for the first time. Ever.

I got that photo, too.

The interesting parts of this year go well beyond sports. When looking back through old issues of the Saratoga Sun, it’s not uncommon to see the resignations of council members or mayors. Just last year, in Medicine Bow, both a mayor and a council member resigned within 24 hours of each other.

In Saratoga, we lost a council member–one who was a staunch supporter of the vulnerable members of our community–and had a mayor resign. All of this amid one of the most divided council’s this town has likely seen. 

Although, the 1980s do seem to have had their own share of interesting council meetings. Especially 1988.

I am by no means trying to say that I have reached the point of a grizzled veteran reporter. Not by a long-shot. I’m still in my early 30s and I have hopes that I’ll be in this business for quite a while longer. This year, I think, has given quite a few young reporters some veteran experience, however.

This year has been one of those that would either shape or break us young journalists. I certainly didn’t foresee, when I started at the Sun, having to repeatedly use the “breaking news” feature to report on a global pandemic. Nor did I foresee reporting on a press conference from the governor. I most certainly didn’t expect to report on the Hatch Act being brought into the race of House District 47.

While these first three years have been quite the experience, especially this last one, I do have hopes that 2021 will hold back on the plot twists a little bit. The edge of my chair is pretty well worn out by this point.


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