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End of a long ride; sports editor enjoyed time in Rocklin, Lincoln

By: Russ Edmondson The Placer Herald/The Lincoln News Messenger
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After more than eight years, I am leaving my position as sports editor of The Placer Herald and The Lincoln News Messenger. This has not been an easy decision, as I have loved my time in both communities. I have taken another job but I will always have very fond memories of my days in Rocklin and Lincoln. I have worked with so many great people here at Gold Country Media and I have witnessed so many positive changes. When I started here in May 2002, fresh out of college, the Rocklin and Lincoln papers were not even online. Now everything we do is on the web. The Placer Herald editorial department shared one phone line back then and the Lincoln office was so small that it was a major situation each time the front door opened. Both offices have since been moved to larger buildings and the papers are in the hands of great editors (Lauren Gibbs in Rocklin and Carol Feineman in Lincoln). My memories here will stay with me forever. • Interviewing local kids, both boys and girls, in tears following tough losses and covering local teams in state championships. • Interviewing former Rocklin High boys basketball coach Steve Taylor following a tough defeat at Sacramento High – his face actually purple with emotion as he loudly explained his thoughts on the game in a hallway next to his team’s locker room. • Watching that same coach linger around the back hallways of Arco Arena long after his team lost in the state finals – he simply didn’t want a magical season to end. And he knew that leaving the arena meant it was all over. • Seeing former Lincoln High basketball star Keenan Hale get his face slammed on the court after a very hard foul – then having a smiling and bloody Hale show me two holes in his upper lip as I interviewed him after the game. Some of his teeth had pushed through his lip after he bounced off the court. • Interviewing former Rocklin basketball player Lindsay Hayward, all 6-foot-9 of her, and having her pour her heart out to me. About exactly what it felt like to be “a light bulb in a dark room” wherever she was because of her size. About feeling as though she lived her life under a microscope and that others were just waiting for her to make mistakes. About having classmates throw things at her simply because of her height. So many kids, coaches and parents were so honest with me over the years – trusting me to not misconstrue their message in print. And I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them. My job would have been a lot more difficult if those in the Rocklin and Lincoln communities hadn’t been so willing to share their tales with me. There was a Rocklin High steroid scandal several years ago – this story put plenty of pressure on me in regards to what to include in the stories and what to leave out. Separating rumor from fact. Trying to avoid the use of anonymous sources. Another tough topic was when Lincoln High girls soccer coach Jason Treanor took over for longtime coach Frank Banuelos – the latter feeling that he was being forced out. I was getting emotional opinions from all sides – including both coaches. My voicemail and e-mail inbox flooded with information and thoughts from readers all over Lincoln. In the end, I only tried to separate the rumors from the truth. I loved watching the Lincoln community rally around last season’s 11-1 Zebras’ football team. And seeing how many Rocklin fans made the trip to Carson to root on the Thunder in last year’s state bowl football game. I have been impressed by how many exceptional athletes have come through this area and I’ll keep my eye on Rocklin and Lincoln sports in the future, even as I move on to other things. Thanks for reading. Russ Edmondson can be reached at ruedmondson@yahoo.com.