Stories never go away

As I began to think about the end of my long journey at The Manhattan Mercury, I couldn’t help but think way back to where this all started for me.

Today is my last with the newspaper as I head off to pursue a new adventure.

I’ve always loved sports, and I can’t imagine that passion will ever cease to exist.

But I think I fell in love with storytelling because of my grandfather, Roger Holuska.

Growing up in Dodge City, I had a lot of opportunities to sit with my grandparents at games or just to spend time with them at their house on any occasion. One thing was always present: my grandpa’s stories.

He is a man who can tell you a story about anything. Hear an old song on the radio? He can come up with a story behind the song or a way that song affected him. Old movies and TV shows? Same thing. Documentaries? Well just wait until you hear Roger’s side of the story.

Where I think we really clicked was sports.

From a young age my family members joked that I had the mind of a sports encyclopedia. I knew things I shouldn’t have known, at least for my age, and the knowledge spanned many sports.

My family members were avid racing fans, following NASCAR every weekend to see what Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon would do. They watched all the college and pro football they could. I saw a lot of Kansas basketball and took in plenty of NBA. Every time I stopped to watch a sporting event, I seemed to soak up so much of what happened like a sponge, that sports knowledge increasing by the moment. And it just continued to grow.

I should go back for just a second to mention I was raised in a Kansas basketball household. I know, right? My best friend and his family were die-hard Nebraska fans. My connections to Kansas State all revolved around my grandparents.

They loved K-State football as much as the next fans. I once drew a Powercat for my grandmother, Gracene, and it stayed on her refrigerator door for years. I still remember the stories they told about the 2000 game between Nebraska and K-State, that legendary contest that featured all the snowfall.

I remember watching Brian Goolsby play at Dodge City in the early ‘90s. My grandfather and I would both cheer him on from our seats in Memorial Stadium and marvel at his ability to slice through defenses and then power through opposing players like a truck.

One of my most prized possessions to this day is a Goolsby football, signed by him at my elementary school before he left for Manhattan.

Watching Goolsby, along with my grandparents’ passion for K-State, got me hooked.

Just like any other kid, I went through so many career dreams and aspirations when I was young. In high school, though, that love of storytelling that I no doubt picked up from my grandpa in full force.

That path has given me the opportunity to be a part of and tell so many great stories. I’ll always be able to say I saw Michael Beasley play firsthand, following the Wildcats around Big 12 country. I’ll never forget Manhattan football beating Junction City on the final play of the game in Joe Schartz’s first year as head coach. My first year covering K-State full time just happened to be the Big 12 trifecta of football, basketball and baseball. And, of course, I got the chance to write about one of the greatest college football coaches there’s ever been.

I think in reflecting on the past 10 years at The Mercury what I came to realize is that I’ll never stop telling stories. I owe my grandpa for that in a lot of ways. As he taught me, there’s a story in everything.

Source: The Mercury

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