So long, farewell, goodbye

October 29, 2002|by AL DITZEL

A co-worker/friend at my last job was always upset with me. You see, at work I have a habit of getting the work done as quickly as possible and then getting myself out of the building.

Many times - OK, every night - I would just leave.

My former co-worker said this just didn't cut it. There was no reason why I couldn't take a second and say good-bye.

This has stuck with me. Of course there were other times when I didn't say good-bye and there were other times when my former co-worker would remind me - harshly.

So, good-bye is something everyone should say - at the end of a day, night or even a stay at a newspaper.


This is my way of saying good-bye. I've decided it's time for me to take another chance on another work situation.

Still, it would be improper for me to leave here without some recollections:

  • My biggest thrill during my stay was the Md. state wrestling tournament, most specifically, watching area wrestlers compete the way they needed to do as well as they did.

    Only three area wrestlers - Matt Allen (Williamsport, 2002), Wayne Bowers (North Hagerstown 2001) and Akil Patterson (Frederick, 2001) - were able to grab the gold during my stay.

    I'll remember each of those wrestlers at their peaks.

    For example, the backflip Patterson, a heavyweight, did after winning the 3A/4A title. He was as gracious a wrestler as I've ever dealt with. And bright. No one put together sentences like Akil.

    Bowers, the most devastating, aggressive wrestler who dominated most every prep match he wrestled. Still, that pure emotion of him realizing his dream after three third-place finishes cannot be matched.

    Finally, Allen. This light 189-pounder used the skills on his feet and on the mat to ascend to the top. He had that quality often noticed. Somehow, someway, Allen was going to win. Every word defining what he was on the mat - thoroughbred, stud, state champion - was right on for Allen, as well as the other Maryland state champs I got to see.

  • Danny Lord, a Hedgesville senior, is looking for his second straight state title in W.Va. I'm only sorry I didn't get the chance to see him as much as I wanted.

  • Anthony Regalbuto, Hedgesville, won a state title in 2000. Luckily, I saw a little of his expertise on the mat during the Rebel Invitational.

    It's not fair but there simply isn't enough room to talk about all the area wrestlers who might've fallen short of a state title but surely were champions in their own right.

  • Luckily many of these wrestlers learned from some of the best coaches, all of whom, I thank, especially those who made my stay here a joy, offering their opinions, suggestions and thoughts.

  • Of course, wrestling isn't the only sport I had the chance to see here. One of the most interesting for me was volleyball. Never had I seen a prep volleyball match before my first Fall here. Sure, beach volleyball. Yes, gym volleyball. But never had I seen classic teamwork like I've seen in this area.

  • My most unusual moment, as well as my most awe-inspiring, came at St. James. I can't remember if they happened on the same day, but they could've.

    The most awe-inspiring was seeing Vice President Al Gore at a prep football game. He and his wife were watching their son play against St. James. Whether you agree or disagree with his politics, it allowed me to say, I went to a high school football game and a security blanket broke out. I'm kidding, his protection did not interfere with any part of the game.

  • Now, for the funniest thing I've ever seen at a high school football game: I can't remember the opponents but a St. James opposition had the ball. They punted - short, very short. It landed in the line. A St. James player caught on the fly. He was stunned. Finally, after a second or two, his bench started yelling for him to run. He glanced over, took a step of two and was tackled.

  • Finally, my co-workers - sports editor Mark Keller, Bob Parasiliti, Dan Kauffman, Andrew Mason, Dan Spears and Ron Somers.

Ron was the guy who hired me. He left a couple of months later. I prefer to think that the two incidents are not related.

Dan Spears was here nearly my entire tenure and offers a lot of the bright and cynical intelligence sports reporting needs. He left in July.

Mark, Parse and Dan K have been here the entire time. Each offer their own wit, perspective and knowledge.

Parse has a distorted sense of humor - thank God! Mark had grown into his job here and seems to get a better handle on things each day. I always remember the line, "But you're Mark Keller."

Dan K is the youngster of the group. When I first met Dan K, I thought of him as that young puppy always bouncing around and getting himself into situations. Now, better than three years later, I think of Dan K as a puppy... no, that's a joke. He's matured immensely these last three years and, without trying to inflate his noggin, has the most potential of any 22-year old I've ever seen in the business.

Andrew, I call him Andy, is the newest person and while I don't know much, I know I can say, "waah" and he'll understand.

These guys have been the best. Good luck to all.

Al Ditzel is a sports writer for The Morning Herald. This is his final column. He can be reached at 301-733-5131 ext. 7520 or by e-mail at

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