The good news is 2019 has arrived and we’ve finally put 2018 to rest. Not sure if it’s just me but, as far as the sports world is concerned, I’m happy to hang a fresh calendar on my wall, or for a more-current reference, I’m happy to see a new year in my calendar app.
It seemed like 2018 was lost in the shuffle in terms of memorable events for sports. There were a few triumphs, but I’m chalking the entire year up as a loss. Even the best teams take an “L” once in a while. We can and we will do better.
Personally, I lost two great sports fans I had the pleasure of knowing, and had to bury them within a few days of each other. In Tehachapi, it was Ed Grimes, a huge Tehachapi Warriors fan and my predecessor in the announcer’s booth, football especially was our common ground. In Bakersfield, it was Harvey Hall, I had the honor of hosting his memorial service and my introduction including the statement that for 14 years I was the voice of Cal State Bakersfield basketball, and apart from my wife, Harvey Hall was my biggest fan. They don’t make leaders or fans like those two anymore. When someone uses their position of power for the common good and is dedicated to giving back to their community, their impact and their loss is truly never known.
The NFL left us in political turmoil while Major League Baseball provided us with another rich team winning the World Series. So much for a great story. Sometimes I yearn for the “Curse of the Bambino” to return because the Red Sox were far-easier to deal with then. We almost felt bad for the organization and their fans, so much for sympathy.
There wasn’t a ton to hang our hat on locally, Varsity softball showed promise with a piece of a league championship before they were inexplicably shipped all the way to Reedley for the first round of the CIF Division III playoffs. They posted a win there but would have their season cut short a few days later at Dinuba. Boys and girls swimming took home another consecutive South Yosemite League title and were probably the most-decorated Warrior squads of 2018.
It’s been probably over-reported on my part in terms of the lackluster football season, but being in a community that appreciates history, you have to take the bad with the good. Not every season can include a championship banner and a run deep into the CIF playoffs. Sometimes it takes an epic-stinker to refocus a program. I’ve been on both sides of that coin.
There is some hope on the horizon as the calendar flips to 2019. Having spent a lot of time with the basketball program, I’m encouraged by the direction both the boys and girls are heading. Changes at the coaching and even administration levels seem to be reinvigorating the programs. Despite playing in an incredibly tough South Yosemite League, there is plenty of reason to believe they can make some noise when it comes time for the CIF Division III Playoffs.
Personally, 2018 was memorable because it was the first time in 15 years that I was home for an entire calendar year. So in the end it wasn’t all that bad. No crazy-travel schedule, no holidays spent in airports or time away from the family, and, I got to spend it with you all, the local fans and readers whose passion I have yet to find a match for despite the hundreds of thousands of miles I’ve logged across this great nation. You truly are unlike any others.
For that, I thank you and hope we can continue to partner up to make 2019 a little better for our teams, our kids and our future together. Happy New Year.
Corey Costelloe has covered NCAA, professional and local sports for more than 20 years as a reporter and broadcaster. A THS graduate, he now resides in Tehachapi. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed are his own.