Melinda Mawdley: Sweet memories |

Melinda Mawdley: Sweet memories

— When you spend 15 years hoping for something and it finally happens, the feeling is hard to describe.

It gets even harder when you spend the better part of seven years doing that something, and then you decide to stop.

I sat down and wrote the first draft of my goodbye column Wednesday.

“It’s good, but it’s not good for you. It’s not from there,” our news editor said, pointing to my heart.

She was right. I tried again. This time, I wrote from inside.

This column isn’t long enough to list everything I’ll miss about covering sports for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, because I’ll miss everything. But I know what I’ll remember most — the scrapbooks.

Every time I talked to an athlete, I thought about the scrapbooks.

I’ve seen dozens of them while attending graduation parties or sports banquets. Some scrapbooks, mothers told me, were too nice for their sons to take out of the house.

The books reiterated why I entered this profession. My job was to accurately recreate the sporting events I attended and capture the emotion involved, because my stories were going be cut out, glued to a piece of paper and archived as a written reminder of what was.

Steamboat Springs High School boys basketball coach Kelly Meek once told me that the definition of “big-time” was in the eye of the beholder. I had the talent to leave and write for a bigger newspaper, he said, but while I was here, I should treat this as my “big-time.”

Although Steamboat, Hayden and South Routt have small populations, athletics are not small-time here. Whether it’s Little League or the Olympics, in that given moment, that event is the most important place for an athlete and coach. I saw that. I felt that. I tried to reflect that.

Of course, I had an added responsibility because there was a good chance I would run into my sources the next day at the post office.

After four-plus years covering sports, I know the names, faces, phone numbers, parents, cars, etc. of almost every athlete in this area. The same goes for coaches.

That is why my editors approached me about covering the education and style beats. They believed more news and feature writing would open doors for me without taking me away from the people.

In education, I will work with many people I already know and stay involved with the children I love to write about the most. With style, I will write more features — a love I found while covering local hurricane relief efforts in New Orleans.

Waiting to introduce myself to Steamboat Springs Superintendent Donna Howell on Thursday, I saw the school supplies list. Glue sticks, safety scissors, crayons — scrapbooking materials.

I get to go back to school. I’m already excited.

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