Josh Kirshenbaum: Signing with a boatload of memories | University of Washington

July 27—Man, 19 months flies by, huh?

The news is now out, but my time at the Daily News is coming to an end. It’s times like this that you reflect, and I’ve done a lot of that over the past two weeks.

Almost three years ago, as a student at UW, I completed a three-year term covering the Huskies on the football field. After my 20th and last game at home, I stood in the press box, watched the pitch and tried to remember a single game or moment from each game that I had seen played on this grass.

For a few days, I have a similar desire. Not for all the games I’ve covered – there are way too many, even in just two years – but for the 17 programs that made this job what it was.

I’m generally against columns that are pure lists, but I’m always willing to try something once. So to end this chapter, here’s what this newcomer straight out of college, from California to Seattle, will always remember from my time in the TDN area, in about one paragraph per program:

– There was a reason I jumped at just about every opportunity to cover Kelso’s volleyball that I could. The combination of team talent, personnel system and fan-created environment in this arena has formed an experience above most others in the region.

– For the first time in decades, there have been two Squirrel Bridge Showdowns in football in one year, and both played out much the same, with a blue wave of Mark Morris Monarchs running down the pitch at will. – Again, I never covered RA Long’s loss to Mark Morris in men’s basketball; how many former TDN reporters can say that? And the atmosphere at the Lumberdome when the Jacks hosted the Monarchs last January, in front of two full student sections for the first time in two years, was absolutely incredible. – To say that Woodland football went through some rough times last year would be an understatement. But to see the Beavers get even two wins with a backfield duo of a wide receiver and a JV quarterback was impressive. – There was something about watching Castle Rock win their first round game in the District Volleyball Tournament and then literally sitting around and waiting to see which team came through the next door that will always stick in my mind. (Yeah, they also won Game 2 in dominant fashion.) – Best single game performance I’ve seen? Yeah that would be Erika Glenn’s 58 point effort for Ilwaco in the 2021 District 2B Women’s Basketball Tournament. – That night I covered the title winning Kalama women’s soccer team of State in Sumner (in PK, of course), I wrote this story for print, then drove two hours south, parked semi-legally, and caught the end of the win of the football team in the quarter-finals against Toledo: completely eventful, it’s definitely worth it. – Speaking of Toledo, I went to one of their last football fall camp sessions last season and saw a group of maybe 15 Riverhawks practice. I thought numbers like that would be hard to overcome; the more the fool was me to doubt the ability of this staff to get the best out of any group. — Toutle Lake, the baseball factory in southwest Washington. I didn’t expect to find a team full of college and professional talent at a 2B school away from I-5, but it was surprises like this that made the job so fun. – Seeing what the Wahkiakum women’s basketball team did in the spring of 2021 definitely made me wish for a state tournament. Seeing what the Mules – seven of them in total for much of the season – did the following year, without their two generational talents was probably equally amazing. – Eight-a-side football can take some getting used to, but the effort and emotion Winlock put on the field to return to State last fall was 100% the same as what I have seen anywhere in the game at 11. – Just watching Naselle’s run to fifth place in the 1B State Volleyball Tournament, filled with five-set matches, was exhausting, and while the Comets l finished with a win, I witnessed some of the most emotional games I’ve seen. – Three Rivers Christian had a fucking electric kettle less than a foot from the baseline on his basketball court. The three funniest things I’ve seen at work. – When I went to Clatskanie to watch the Tigers name their baseball field after Lester Wallace, I got to experience a celebration of Northern Oregon baseball that arguably led to my favorite feature from my time at TDN. — When I was on my way back from my health issues this spring, my first games back were softball and baseball at Rainier. They were regular league games, and I wasn’t even strong enough to last more than an inning each, but I’ll remember those pitches for how good it was to be back at work . – My first dose of basketball in the region came during an LCC doubleheader in April 2021. It set the tone for what the sport means to me in this region, loud and clear. – And finally, the Black Bears gave me two summers filled with nights at the ballpark, to see a team grow and change over the summer. As an aspiring beat writer, this nighttime grind was all I could want.

For all of these experiences, and many more, I will always remember my time at TDN, and I hope my writing had at least a small in-kind effect on one or two of you.

I’m disconnecting from here for now,

Josh Kirshenbaum

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