Nate Waggenspack: Fare thee well, Moffat County
June 27, 2014
About four months after I began working at the Craig Daily Press, I was driving to Cortez to cover a football game. We weren't going to get coverage of the game from other newspapers and I had no other work to do, so I got approval to take the trip.
I never made it to Cortez.
About an hour away from my destination (and therefore about five hours from Craig) I lost control of my vehicle coming out of a curve and went off the road. I flipped over and came to rest upside down on top of a boulder. After I crawled out of my car through the shattered back windshield, I had to walk a while in order to get service on my phone. There were a lot of things swirling through my head then, but "What the hell am I doing here?" sticks out most.
And yet it's almost two years after that episode that I'm going to say goodbye to Craig.
This weekend I'm leaving the Craig Daily Press and Colorado for Columbus, Ohio. I'll be closer to family and friends that I had before moving here, but I'll be missing the ones I've made here.
I gave Craig a shot because I love sports and my job was to spend hours every single day around them, at practices or games. Since I was a kid, I've lived and died with the fortunes of my favorite teams. For longer than I care to admit, that passion left me crying about every bad loss. Losses don't result in tears now, but a rough game or the end of a season still leaves a knot in my stomach. On the flip side, a great win pumps me up more than just about anything else in this world.
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Moffat County High School has left innumerable knots in my stomach during two school years. I've covered hundreds of games, which also unfortunately means more heartbreaking losses than I would prefer to remember. But I remember them all, sometimes tears included.
I remember plenty of great results, as well. During my two years in Craig, I've covered three district champions, a regional champion, dozens of state qualifiers, multiple top-five finishes in state and one two-time state champion. In 2014, it's harder than ever to win in high school athletics, especially as a rural, public school, but Moffat County keeps on coming.
There are more people to thank than I could possibly hope to include in a short space like this, but one group I'd like to single out. To all the athletes who I've worked with the past two years, thank you. You've been patient with me, you've been honest with me and you really care about sports, just like I do. I've enjoyed every second of watching you guys play.
There are some people who don't feel the same way about sports, who think maybe they don't matter. But two years ago I moved halfway across the country to a state where I didn't know a single person, and now I'm leaving behind a community that became my home, because of sports. Thank you, Craig.
Nate Waggenspack misses that car he crashed to this day. Contact him for one more day at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@CraigDailyPress.com. Follow him on Twitter at @CDP_Sports .