This is a time when I like to reflect on the previous 12 months and assess whether I've had a good year or not.
Sometimes, the reflections are good. Other times, they are more forgettable, but that's life. And looking back on 2004, I must say it's been a pretty darn good year.
First of all, I am thankful for having had the opportunity to hit the big 5-0 this year. I certainly took note of turning 50 because my knees, ankles and back sure hurt a lot more than they used to, and I certainly can't run like I used to. Worse yet, informed sources tell me it doesn't get easier from here on out.
But I cannot complain about a few aches and pains. Just consider the alternative.
I mean, it was a shock this week to learn of the passing of Reggie White, a great football player and, from all accounts, an even greater person. Truly a class act, and now, he's gone. At age 43, no less.
This was also a year in which two notable local sports personalities passed on at relatively young ages - Carson City's Larry "Irish Pat" Duncan, a world ranked heavyweight boxer in the 1970s, and Mike McCreary, a two-time Northern Auto Racing Club driving champion who began his racing career in Carson City in 1964 and passed away on Sept. 24 after battling pancreatic cancer. Just six days before his death, he made the trip from his home in Placerville, Calif., to attend the season-ending show at Champion Speedway. McCreary would have celebrated his 62nd birthday today.
The year 2004 provided me with some wonderful memories. I had a chance to fly to Missouri with my family - the first time I'd traveled by air in more than a dozen years - and watched my son, Kris, and his best friend, Joe Rose, graduate from Army Basic training at Fort Leonard Wood. Kris is now stationed in South Korea, Joe is in Iraq, and yes, I have more heightened awareness of world affairs these days.
Oh, and to the high school fan who was critical of the fact I showed up at a baseball game last spring wearing my green Army T-shirt (because the colors are the same as Bishop Manogue's) ... you need to get a life.
The only unfortunate part about the Missouri trip was being in St. Louis and not getting a chance to watch the NCAA wrestling championships or the NCAA men's basketball Sweet 16, where the Nevada Wolf Pack played Georgia Tech.
I did have an opportunity to see the end of a legend at Carson High School, when Ron McNutt coached his final baseball game after 29 years and 657 victories (he won another 1,217 games as head coach of the Carson Capitols summer program). There was no storybook finish for his last game, but senior shortstop Willie Bowman (now at UNLV) did hit three home runs in a 12-8 loss to the eventual state champion Reno Huskies. Throw in all the emotions surrounding the game and it was a very memorable afternoon.
Another highlight was being in Sacramento for the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in July. That was a chance to see some of the world's best athletes, just look at America's gold haul from Athens a month later. There were also a couple of local ties: Fallon triple jumper Aarik Wilson as well as Azusa Pacific University coach Kevin Reid, a Carson High graduate who coaches Olympic decathlon silver medalist Bryan Clay.
It was also a chance to see such athletes as Tiombe Hurd, who is legally blind yet she won the women's triple jump with an American record mark at the Trials ... Vanitta Kinard, who placed third in the women's triple jump, just four months after her mother died in a shooting in her Southern California home ... and Adriane Blewitt, fifth in the women's shot put, but she was able to wear her "I Kicker Cancer's (Butt)" shirt after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in October, 2003. ... And that's just to name a few of the human interest stories.
No, I certainly cannot complain about a few aches or pains, bad calls by the zebras, or any of that. There's too much to be grateful for. And here's wishing a Happy New Year to all of you.
Contact Dave Price at firstname.lastname@example.org