As many of you may have heard, I am leaving my position as assistant athletics director for communications at CSUB effective Sept. 8. Along with that comes the end of my 14-year run as "Voice of the ‘Runners" for men’s basketball and nine-year spot on air for baseball.
It’s not an easy decision. I love the Roadrunners but my priorities have changed. I’m not as young as I once was and traveling across the country every week is no longer appealing. Good news is, the white lines have finally led me home. I’ll begin work in the city manager’s office here in Tehachapi on Sept. 11. I guess you can come home again.
So that’s it for me. Essentially 14 years of memories will come to an end as a radio and television announcer for CSUB. Man, I saw some things and have been some places. Maybe one day when I have some time I will try to write them in some sort of memoir, if I can remember them all. Doubtful.
The road isn’t easy. The Western Athletic Conference is one of the most geographically-diverse conferences in America. We’re flying to every game, commercial; it’s rough. I am away from home for five days at a time and miss my son growing up. That all comes to an end. I’m sure they’ll coax me back from time to time as a fill-in. I’m all for that, but it’s time to focus on me, my family and the city of Tehachapi.
When I was younger, I equated what I did to rodeo cowboys or rock bands touring the circuit. I’m not as tough as rodeo cowboys and am not as cool as rock stars, but there were similarities in what we did. New towns, long hours on the road, in the air, and in beds that aren’t yours. One of my favorite scenes from the movie "8 Seconds" is Lane Frost sitting on his motel bed after arriving at a new city. He looks skyward with a slight smile and says, "Lord I love this."
I did that for several years. The first trip of the season I relived that scene. I haven’t done that in a couple of seasons. My feelings changed a bit, and that was to be expected. I also used to think about one of my favorite films of all time, "Almost Famous," when the young writer keeps telling the band groupie on the bus that he has to go home. She looks at him and says, “You are home.” I felt that way for a long time too, but in the end I really wanted to be home.
It’s been a heck of a run. Fourteen years ago my old boss Blake Taylor barged into my radio studio at KGEO 1230 and said “the Roadrunners radio guy just quit, congratulations, you have a game in two days.” Off I went, and 14 years later, off I go. Life is too short and you don’t get time back. I’m moving forward without regrets and to the words of John Mellencamp, “life is short, even in its longest days.”
Oh the places I’ve been, the towns, the arenas, the people, the experiences. It was all worth it and I leave without any regrets. Any athlete dreams about going out on top. The last two men’s basketball seasons ended in the NCAA Tournament and NIT Tournament, respectively. What a way to go out.
My first road game for the Roadrunners was in January 2004 at Cal State Stanislaus in tiny Warrior Gym that had lights like heat lamps. My last road game was at Madison Square Garden, The World’s Most-Famous Arena, where the bright lights of the city illuminated the final call of my career. I’ll quote the Grateful Dead here: “What a long strange trip it’s been.”
Too many people to thank along the way, but I will say this. You don’t go from covering sports at Tehachapi High School’s gym to covering them in Madison Square Garden without a lot of people helping you along the way. Many of those people are in Tehachapi, and I am looking forward to serving them with my new position with the city.
As far as this column goes, well, this is the last edition of Roadrunner Connection. Fortunately, thanks to your readership and the support of the editors, I’ll be back with a new column, X’s and Arrows, which will focus heavily on local sports with a few of my anecdotes and life experiences thrown in along the way. Shoutout to my brother Jared Clough for that title — and I thought I was the only wordsmith in the family. I’m sure it’ll be great. Just do me a favor and keep reading.
In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been accompanied by a lot of songs during my time on the road. Music makes the miles go by a lot faster. I’ll leave with the words of one of my favorite singer-songwriters, Chris Ledoux, who reassured me I was going out on top in his own rodeo way.
“When you ride your last one, make sure he’s the best one, jump while he’s moving, tip your hats boys and walk away.”
(Hat tip) ... Thank you.
Corey Costelloe, a Tehachapi High graduate, is assistant athletics director for communications for CSUB.