Despite the rain, spring was special
Sure, I've been doing this job a long time.
And I've seen, well, pretty much everything.
I've seen plenty of wins, and plenty of losses.
I've covered many, many games, meets and matches — more than I care to count up.
Why do I keep doing it?
Well, maybe because I'm not really qualified to do anything else.
But, honestly, there's a few things that make this job special.
Those are things, for me at least, that make this job as special as it can be.
And, just this past spring sports season alone, I saw plenty of emotion and plenty of compassion.
I certainly won't forget Tualatin High School senior Ryan Cavinta winning the boys 300-meter intermediate hurdles race at the Class 6A state track and field championships, held back in May at Hayward Field in Eugene.
As he crossed the finish line, Cavinta burst into tears. He then knelt down on the Hayward Field track as he sobbed.
He was helped up by his friend, and fellow hurdles finalist, Carter Bracken of Lake Oswego. Cavinta then embraced some of the other competitors from the hurdles final before making his way over to the award stand.
"I was crying at the finish line. It means so much to me," Cavinta said after receiving his championship medal. "I lost it. I could barely keep it together. I could barely get up. I had my buddy (Lake Oswego senior) Carter (Bracken) help me get up. It was all surreal. It was just the emotions. Of course, I was tired, but everything just came out. It was good emotions."
There were certainly plenty of emotions down in the southern part of the state last week, when the Tualatin High School softball team played at North Medford in a Class 6A state playoff semifinal game.
And what a game it was.
North Medford took a 1-0 lead, but Tualatin battled back to take a 2-1 advantage in the top of the third inning behind back-to-back RBI doubles by Taylor Alton and Zoe Olivera. The Wolves held that lead until the bottom of the sixth inning, when the talented Black Tornado scored three runs to grab a 4-2 lead.
The Wolves tried to battle back in the top of the seventh. With a runner on second base, and two outs, Tualatin senior Sammi Caron ripped a shot to right-center field. The ball thudded more than halfway up the fence, nearly good enough for a game-tying home run.
Kayla Laird, who was on second, scored on the hit. The speedy Caron tried to stretch her hit into a triple, but North Medford, with two perfect throws and a precise tag, got her out on a close play — and the game was over.
Tualatin coach Jenna Wilson immediately hugged Caron, and her Tualatin teammates filed out of the dugout to do the same.
Those girls were filled with emotion after the hard-fought, heart-breaking loss.
The four girls I interviewed after the game, Alton, Olivera, Caron and senior Amanda Reser, were all gracious and very classy. That shows a lot of character.
And, a little more about Caron. She attends Horizon Christian High School, a private school located just a couple blocks away from Tualatin High. Caron missed her Horizon Christian graduation ceremonies to play in the game at North Medford. In fact, she was the valedictorian, and taped her speech to be played at the graduation.
The track and field season also saw Tigard junior standout Braden Lenzy shine again. Lenzy, a phenomenal football player and a standout track and field athlete, won the Class 6A state title in the 400-meter dash for the second straight year. But that's not what I'll remember most about Lenzy's junior track season.
For me, his best moment came at the Three Rivers League district meet. Lenzy won the 100, 200 and the 400 at that event. In the 400, after sprinting to victory, Lenzy turned around and saw his Tigard teammate, junior Skylar Holloway, who was also in the 400 final, limping and hoping up the track.
Holloway had suffered a season-ending Achilles injury during the race.
Lenzy, instead of celebrating his victory, ran back to give Holloway a hug, and helped him off the track.
It was a pretty special moment.
There were other memorable moments during the spring season.
There was the boys golf regional tournament playoff between Tigard junior Abel Rodriguez and Sherwood freshman Mason Bonn, who were vying for the final individual qualifying spot for the Class 6A state tournament.
They both played tremendous golf over five sun-soaked playoff holes down at the OGA Course in Woodburn, with Rodriguez finally emerging victorious.
There was also Tigard freshman sensation Lizzy Stevens, who dominated the rest of the state on her way to winning the Class 6A girls tennis singles championship.
The thing that seemed to make Stevens most happy was the chance to play for her team and represent her school.
It's stuff like all of this that made this spring (despite all the rain), sports, and this job, sometimes to be pretty special.