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A blast from the past

Xs and Arrows

Thanks to a high school friend of mine I received a valuable piece of history in the mail the other day, it was one of the final newspapers that I produced at Tehachapi High School as the Managing Editor of The Warrior newspaper. More importantly it included a set of photos I took from a church trip to Mexicali, Mexico in the spring of 1998. I remembered the photos vividly, it was decent artistic work but in the world before digital cameras, cell phone pictures and memory cards, I had no idea where the prints ended up. At least now I have a newspaper version for the archives.

While wanting the paper for the photos, I also discovered a twist of irony on the front page. It was that spring that the students of THS elected the late Jim Grecian as "Teacher of the Year." He taught biology and science at THS for the longest time and was one of the most patient instructors ever. He once told me I had "the steady hand of the surgeon" while we were dissecting fetal pigs in his class. Too bad I didn't end up with the smarts of a surgeon, but I appreciated the compliment. He had that way about him, his smile was so iconic many people referred to him as "Smiling Jim."

Mr. Grecian also served, for many years, as the public address announcer for the Tehachapi Warriors Football team and spent his final years in the booth even when the physical ability to call the games left him. He sounded like a biology teacher calling a football game, just as you would expect. Methodical, not a ton of emotion but professional as the day is long. I heard his voice for three seasons on the field, then my senior year I wrote a feature piece about this iconic voice, probably the most unexpected person imaginable for the job. I wrote about his strengths, his seemingly consistent tone and what made him unique in the sports world.

A few months after football season that article won an award, it was named best sports feature story at a high school journalism day held by Bakersfield College. I still have that award on my wall, there's nothing wrong in my world in displaying your professional achievements right alongside the athletic ones, and when they cross paths it is even more meaningful.

Some 23 years later I sit in the chair once occupied by Mr. Grecian at Coy Burnett Stadium, I unfortunately do not have the same reservation as one of my predecessors, I'm more from the broadcast world so emotion will always be a part of what I do when a microphone is nearby. When the Warriors score, you will know it. It isn't lost on me the importance of that role, considering there have been some legends that have occupied that little press box of ours. Some of their names are still on the wall behind us, marking their territory for hanging their coats during those late season chilly games. They remain as a nod to yesteryear.

From writing about Mr. Grecian as a high schooler to taking over the role he mastered for so many years represents some odd football cycle of life, I am sure. I am just happy I was able to know both of my predecessors in that role, both who have passed on but left a large chair to fill. I don't do it exactly like they did, that has never been a goal of mine in any area of life. While respecting the lessons learned from those who have come before you, every person is unique and has strengths and weaknesses to explore as they execute a role. Embrace who you are.

So, it isn't just about having the best seat in the house on Friday nights at Coy Burnett Stadium or just being close to a program I love, there is a little remembering of some of those who also volunteered their time and talent to make our home games that much more special over the last several decades. Thanks to a high school friend for holding on to a piece of our journey and bringing it all full circle for this public address announcer.

Corey Costelloe has covered NCAA, professional and local sports for more than 20 years as a reporter and broadcaster. He can be reached at [email protected]. Read more content at http://www.CostelloeMedia.com.