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Old 02-16-2011
Timesfreelanceguy Timesfreelanceguy is offline
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All good things...

I learned on Monday that I would be covering the second day of this weekend's state tournament.

This was very good news for me (and I hope it's good news for the kids in my area), because Saturday will be my final day covering Illinois high school wrestling. Barring a major personal catastrophe, I'll be moving to Florida sometime between April and August, and the one son who might still wrestle will likely be going with me.

This is my (using the Iowa method of taking one's socks off and counting with the toes) 15th state wrestling tournament. It started in 1989 in Wisconsin, where I covered four straight state meets, then took eight years off before coming to Assembly Hall in 2001.

******

During that time, I got to cover a lot of local kids, including several state champions. My favorite of all of them was and is Clayton Rush. Gail, I'm still waiting for that sweatshirt, and if D3s are within driving distance I wouldn't mind seeing him go for a national title.

I have a lot of Assembly Hall memories. Great matches. Great coaches. Greater kids. These kids will continue to go on making memories. And there'll be (I hope) reporters to write about them. It just won't be me.

But I look forward to one more go-round. One more dance with the uber-huge bald security guy on the Assembly Hall floor as I try to go places he thinks I shouldn't be. One more Grand March. Hopefully, a few more titles...I won't put any more pressure on any of the kids in my area by naming names...but a few would be nice.

Wrestling has been in my blood since 1986. The people who know me well would probably bet that I'll find a way to stay in it. They're probably right. Perhaps I'll build a Florida Matmen board similar to Mr. Bare's. I'll try not to write too much about Brandon if I do.

Lace em up. Go 1000 percent for 8 1/2 if you have to. Leave it all out there. Let it all fall.

You'll be missed. I promise you that.

Thanks for reading.
Shannon Heaton
La Crosse Tribune/QC Times 1.0/Geneseo Republic/Moline Dispatch/QC Times 2.0 wrestling beat writer

Last edited by admin; 02-16-2011 at 12:44 PM.
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Old 02-16-2011
Wrestling Junkie Wrestling Junkie is offline
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You will be missed also

You will be missed also my friend. You have done a great job coving wrestling. Take care and be safe.......
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Old 02-16-2011
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agdfan agdfan is offline
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My Dearest Friend Shannon,

Although it saddens us that you will be leaving the area, we wish you nothing but great things and happiness in your move to sunny Florida! I am surprised, however, that you would leave the Midwest and our wonderful winters!! There has not been and never will be anybody who covered our wonderful sport as thorough as you did in the years Clayton was in high school. YOU, my friend, will always be our favorite reporter!

As for the sweatshirt, I am now on a mission. I DO have it. I got it when Clayton was a freshman, as promised, and we were supposed to meet up at a meet when you were living in Iowa. I KNOW it is in this house somewhere. It hung in a bag in my foyer for at least 2 years. But, with age, my memory has slipped away and I have no idea where I put it. I WILL hopefully find it. I would like nothing better than to give it to you in LaCrosse, Wisconsin on the weekend of March 11 and 12!!! Let me know!!

You take care, Mr. Heaton, and keep in touch. You know where to find me!!

Always Friends,
Gail

PS...FOUND IT!!!!!
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Old 02-16-2011
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Jaguar Jaguar is offline
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Maybe you could pull a Rob Sherrill. Being in Tennessee has not stopped him from being the foremost authority on Illinois rankings. You will be missed.
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Old 02-16-2011
Timesfreelanceguy Timesfreelanceguy is offline
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Oooh! La Crosse Center! Wow...talk about closure, my first big HS tournament I ever covered was the Bi-State Classic there...And there's certainly plenty of watering holes there.
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Old 02-16-2011
WinnersNeverQuit WinnersNeverQuit is offline
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Thank you!

Shannon, you're the man! Your coverage in high school truly meant a lot not only to me, but to everyone in the area. You will be missed. Have a great time in Florida!
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Old 02-16-2011
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agdfan agdfan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timesfreelanceguy View Post
Oooh! La Crosse Center! Wow...talk about closure, my first big HS tournament I ever covered was the Bi-State Classic there...And there's certainly plenty of watering holes there.
Sooo...that means we"ll see you there? That would be awesome! And the sweatshirt has returned to my foyer awaiting it's departure to YOU!!!!
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Old 02-16-2011
FoxesFan FoxesFan is offline
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Passion, Professionalism

Shannon:

Two words that I think of when I think of your work.

You have made an inpression upon anyone who has come to know your work. Your willingness to treat a 'secondary' sport like prime time has been courageous. I would have loved to hear some of the conversations that you've had with editors over the years.

My guess is that there is a wrestling team, or wrestling region, or maybe the entire wrestling community in Florida that has no idea that they are getting what they've dreamed of in getting you. Look for the opportunities.

With the internet, the world is shrinking and you can also stay in touch with us. Jaguar is right, Rob has figured it out.

Be safe, be good, best wishes and God Bless. Hope to run into you this weekend.

FoxesFan
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Old 02-21-2011
Timesfreelanceguy Timesfreelanceguy is offline
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A few thoughts on the tournament:

1. The media area is ridiculously small, but at least there were runners this year. Don't know when that started, as I haven't been at the tournament since 2008. Like the runners...but can't we just go around to the mats ourselves? At Iowa you can sit behind the coaches and watch matches. Access is fantastic there. But then there's no need for King Kong Baldy, then, is there?

2. I like being able to work at my desk and send from my desk. That is a nice techonological upgrade.

3. There still is an issue with improper use of media credentials. Anyone who sat in my row knows exactly what I'm talking about.

more to follow in a bit...
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Old 02-21-2011
Blue fan group Blue fan group is offline
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Shannon, Thank you for the extended coverage you give to our sport. Including way over here across the river. You will be missed.
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