OPINION: Outsights

This is my last column for the Hillsboro Free Press. As I write it, I realize just how special the community of Hillsboro really is. I?ve gotten to know many people during my short stay here. All of the coaches here have been wonderful to work with, and I hope those relationships can continue.

During the fall sports season, I came to know high school basketball and middle school football coach Darrel Knoll. He might have thought of me as a tagalong, but never said so. He continues to be a good friend who helped me feel comfortable here.

In addition, I have developed positive relationships with other coaches, including Darrel Kohlman, Dustin McEwen, Dennis Boldt, Becky Carlson, Phil Oelke, Dwayne Wilson, Corey Burton, Lonnie Isaac, Brian Kennell, Collette Burton, Len Coryea, Mike Jilka, Carolyn Long, Stephanie Sinclair, Max Heinrichs and Don Penner.

I can?t think of a time when I have felt the coaches at HHS tried to keep me from doing my job. Having worked at other newspapers, that is a sincere compliment to each of those individuals.

Others who have helped make my job easier include athletic director James Thomas, principal Glen Suppes and superintendent of schools Gordon Mohn, who happens to be friends with my father.

Most often overlooked are the people I often address most directly. Secretaries Pam Bartel at the elementary school, Pati Funk and Sharon Funk at the middle school, and Donna Dalke, Carla Harmon and June Suderman at the high school are all wonderful people.

In the past few months, they must have taken a thousand phone calls from me. Every time I called or walked into their office to pick up statistics, they greeted me with a positive attitude and a smile.

Along with the staff at the schools, my coworkers at the Free Press have done absolutely tremendous things for me.

Don Ratzlaff and Joel Klaassen are amazing individuals, and I would challenge anyone to find more caring and involved people. They have been wonderful to work with and are even better people to know outside the workplace. They have made a true commitment to the Hillsboro community. I hope this town rewards their efforts with loyalty.

Despite all these positives, I will be leaving town to take another position. Experience in the workplace can take you only so far, and there comes a time to move on when that opportunity presents itself.

My point: I?m going to miss covering Hillsboro athletic events.

Witnessing the exploits of athletes such as Tyson Ratzlaff, Grant Brubacher, C.J. Hill, Jesse Hamm, Jeremy Loewen, Angela Kroeker, Jill Hein and others has been a joy.

The thing I will miss the most is observing the commitment to excellence made by our athletes and coaches. Hillsboro athletics have a bright future because of that commitment.

I will make my new home with the Newton Kansan, but in my heart I will still root for the Trojans.

I?ve come to see a healthy competitive fire in the Hillsboro fans and players. Without that fire, Hillsboro athletics could fall to a ?normal,? or ?average? level.

Sometimes I think Hillsboro athletics gets a bad rap. I often hear about the joy people from rival schools get from defeating the Trojans, and see their disappointment when they lose. But knowing the people of this place, I?m sure such are responses are triggered more by jealousy than by local excesses.

So, best of luck to Trojan athletics. I see nothing but good things ahead. With great athletes here to lead, and a solid group to follow, I see a lot of championship banners in the future for Hillsboro High School.

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