I covered my last sporting event for the foreseeable future Friday. I’m sorry it had to be a loss by the Lompoc baseball team.
Tomorrow, May 12, I will be going under the knife for a right hip replacement.
I will be off for about a month, hopefully not much longer and, with a little luck, maybe shorter.
As most of you know, I’ve been hobbling around for the past six months or so and it is now virtually impossible for me to cover many events at different locations.
Hopefully this surgery will be a step in the right direction, helping me get back to the grind so I’m able to continue covering local sports for a long, long time to come.
I have told so many people that the job as a sports writer at the Lompoc Record and Santa Maria Times has been the best job I have ever had. Not only have I been able to watch and hang out with some great athletes and kids, but I have made countless friends with coaches, athletic directors and yes, even some parents.
I’ve always joked that the only thing wrong with youth sports are the parents. But, really, it’s great that there are so many people who love to support their kids, even if they are not superstars on their teams. Sometimes parents complain just a little too loudly.
The other day, a Morro Bay parent was going on and on about how his kid was not playing. The whole game, he was complaining about never complaining, but making up for lost time, I guess. Even as his son’s team was pouring it on, he was still mad about what the coach decided to do that day.
Sir, I’m sure your son wants to play all the time, but I bet he was happy that his team won a game, even though he only made a late game pinch-hitting appearance.
Parents, let your kids be a part of the team, let them try their best and let them enjoy themselves. If they don’t like it, they will do something about it. You are there to support them and stay out of the way.
That’s what high school and even youth sports are about — having fun. I didn’t have fun giving up a home run while trying out for my high school baseball team to future baseball Hall of Famer Robin Yount, in what my coach said was the longest home run he had ever seen, so I stopped playing.
And I wasn’t very good in basketball, playing three years on the junior varsity team, but I was having a really fun time playing for former UCLA player Lonnie Lee. The same time I played for coach Lee, his son Greg was playing for the Bruins along with pal Bill Walton.
I wasn’t good, but I played as long as I could. Then, in my senior year, I stayed on the varsity team, practicing every day. Then I kept stats during the games.
I had fun, my mom knew it and she let me do my thing. That is how kids should be able to experience all sports — participate, do the best you can and have supportive parents who will stay out of the way.
And if they don’t want to play anymore, support that too.
I’m going to go crazy not hanging out with my boys in the sports department every day for a while. And all of the other friends I have made at the paper.
Thanks to publisher Cynthia Schurr for her constant support as well as my sports editor Elliott Stern. Gary Robb, who is my entertainment editor — thanks for your encouragement with my reviews, it means a lot.
I was hoping that during my time on the disabled list I would be able to watch my beloved Dodgers. But of course that is not possible, because of the new Dodgers network that is holding our local cable companies hostage. Please work that stuff out, I miss Vin Scully.
Vinnie is the reason I am involved in sports. He is the greatest announcer EVER. I had been able for the past 25 years to do college and high school broadcasting on cable television, radio and on the Internet. I will never be Vin Scully, but I think I was a pretty good Brad Memberto.
I hope I’m able to return feeling better and being able to cover everything — and soon. I am not sure how long the rehab will be, I’m not sure if the second hip will need to be replaced soon, either.
All I know is I’m going to miss covering games on a daily basis.
Most of the time I simply love my job. I hope some of my writing has been enjoyed and appreciated.
I will be back as soon as I am able.
And instead of wasting gas to come visit me, or sending me a get well card or calling to see how I am doing, make a donation to your favorite sports team. High school, Babe Ruth, Little League, AYSO, youth football or whatever — we need to keep all youth sports alive, so the next Danny Duffy, Napoleon Kaufman or Mark Brunell is able to follow his dreams.
Of course, if you find a way to get me a Chicago style deep dish pizza or Chicago style hot dog — I will accept those gifts.
So, now it’s time to do rehab, finish my novel, start on my childrens book and watch the Kings win the Stanley Cup. That should keep me busy.
Oh, by the way, Happy Mother’s Day, mom. You are the best!
Brad Memberto is a sports writer at the Lompoc Record. To wish him well, feel free to leave a message at 739-2220 or at firstname.lastname@example.org