A wave of deja vu washed over as I shuffled across an icy Truckee High parking lot and entered the gym's hallway, where a couple of high school athletes were penning their National Letters of Intent on Wednesday.
I couldn't help but flash back. Way back — all the way to my first day on the job.
The date was Feb. 1, 2005. I was fresh out of college, trying to figure out this new gig on the fly when a news tip came across my desk. A Truckee senior was signing a letter of intent to play football for the Army Black Knights.
My first story.
I asked our staff photographer, Josh Miller, if he could accompany me for photos. We needed to hustle. The signing was about to happen.
Miller lagged in collecting his gear as I waited anxiously, nervous about my first assignment. Finally we departed the office, the weather clear and crisp as we drove into an icy Truckee parking lot — much like Wednesday of this week. We were late.
We walked through the main entrance and found senior three-sport athlete Jamie Maehler sitting at a small table in front of the trophy case — much like Aleigh Krug and Annie Reiswig's letter signings this week. He was flanked by his proud parents, Wes and Melinda, as well as Truckee football coach and then-athletic director Bob Shaffer, who also stood proud.
Maehler, an amiable guy and a stud of an athlete — he still owns the NIAA record for career receiving yards in 11-man football — had already signed his letter.
Not a problem. Miller, who was not shy, sprung into action, instructing Maehler to pick up the pen again and stage like he was signing. It worked.
I interviewed both parents and Shaffer, stumbling through my words as I nervously scribbled on my pad. Maehler was an easy interview, genuinely happy, polite and well spoken, and the feel-good story almost wrote itself.
Fast forward nearly seven years and here I am, still, wondering how all that time could have passed. Truckee, meanwhile, is still pumping out the athletes, providing everlasting fodder for a local sports editor.
I've found that, whether accomplished by Jamie Maehler or Reiswig and Krug years later, high school athletic achievements still evoke the same electric vibe and a real excitement. I felt honored to share in the experiences then, and nothing has changed.
— Sylas Wright is the sports editor of the Sierra Sun. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.