As of Wednesday morning, we are now officially out of spring and into summer. In my world, summer is the start of fun times with my children as they move up one more rung on the grade level ladder. Hard to really conceive, but my son, Elijah, enters the sixth grade at Perry Browne Elementary School in the fall, and he was a wee infant of two months when I began my career at The Evening Sun, and with so many close friends and tremendous athletes moving on in their lives, I find myself in a state of reflecting on the years gone by as a sportswriter and editor for our local daily newspaper.
Among the athletes, Sara Chrystie, headed to Oneonta State to continue her athletic and academic career in September, has had perhaps the longest-running relationship with our sports section dating back to her third grade year. While her older brother Mike– by five years – was breaking records and setting new standards on the gridiron and track, Sara’s coming was touted. She did not disappoint becoming her school’s all-time leading goal scorer in field hockey, and the school’s all-time scoring leader for basketball.
Above all else, Sara is a down-to-earth young woman who was always ready with a smile, and never comported herself badly in any competition. I never saw her give an official a second glance for a seemingly bad call, never saw a glimmer of a complaint, and never saw her show any disrespect for a coach, teammate or opponent. She was, in every sense of the word, a standout. A standout athlete and a standout individual, I can only surmise this, but she’ll make her mark in some way at O-State.
Looking down the line at each of the schools, there are bunches of senior athletes who impressed me with their athleticism and accomplishments. At B-G, Dave Nelson comes to mind; in Greene, Kurt Spear and Christine McCabe, at G-MU, Chris Delmar and Joel Christian, at Norwich, almost too many to mention, but the senior varsity girls’ basketball players along with the senior boys’ basketball players, all of whom are true leaders on the field and in the classroom, come to mind; at Otselic Valley, Jessica Wood, in Oxford, there was Chrystie and Josh Davis; at Sherburne-Earlville, Adriane Marcellus and Ashlee Lathrop; and at Unadilla Valley, Zach Thomsen.
I have most definitely left names off my short list, and I apologize for any oversights, but please know, I am most proud to cover any and all athletes within Chenango County’s confines, and my job is to simply serve as a vessel to promote kids’ accomplishments.
Piatti moving on
I could not end this year’s sports season without passing on my congratulations to a good friend and colleague, Tom Piatti of Sherburne-Earlville, who will move into an administrative position as assistant principal at Chittenango in the fall.
He began his varsity coaching career ten years ago, and has served as the varsity girls’ basketball coach, varsity football coach, and varsity track and field coach. Clearly, though, Piatti will tell you himself that he considers himself a track and field guy. A school recordholder at his alma mater, Piatti was indeed the prodigal son when he took the reins.
He began with a flourish coaching a state title winner in the pole vault, and he nearly finished on the same note with Lathrop and Marcellus compiling a pair of top-four finishes in the NYS meet earlier this month. He also guided the Marauders’ football team to its first-ever winning record in Class B football this past season.
On a personal note, Tom was a contemporary of mine, and we would often joke to each each other about one another’s physical fitness. Sorry Tom, but I think I can take you in the mile run. He is a friend beyond my coach-writer relationship, someone who eagerly gave me information above and beyond the call of duty. He was diligent and detailed with his reporting of events, and I believe he was as excited about his kids’ performances as they were. Above all, he is knowledgable and talented as a mentor of young kids; what he doesn’t know, he seeks out from others. He isn’t afraid to admit he may have made a bad decision, and he’ll accept the blame for such occasions – and there weren’t many. I will miss our relationship because he has such an easy-going manner, it was never work when I reported his information. Good luck my friend.