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Goodbye, Turlock
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Though I grew up in the Central Valley, I knew very little about Turlock. I knew it had a college, a couple high schools, good places to eat and shop … and that was about it. Call me naïve back then.

After three years at the Journal, I will never look at Turlock the same again.

I started as an education reporter in September 2008, but a few months later I segued into a one-man sports department. Ever since then, I’ve had quite an unforgettable run filled with a lot of good times. Though I’ve had the privilege of living in three different states, I’ve never felt like I was truly part of a community until I reached Turlock.

I regret that it took me so long.

My family and I moved to Modesto in the late 1980s. There, I graduated high school and attended Modesto Junior College. I then went on to Fresno State for my bachelor’s degree in journalism. During this entire time, I don’t remember visiting Turlock too often other than pumping gas and shopping and eating with friends. Again, I regret this.

After I got hired at the Journal, my whole perspective changed about Turlock. Within the sports community, I became a frequent visitor at practices and games. I always enjoyed attending a practice in which a player or two would say hello and asked me how I was doing. And the coaches? They were always welcoming.

Yes, I’m going to miss all this as I move on to become the high school sports reporter at The Tribune in San Luis Obispo. I’m eager for a new adventure, but I’m certain I will catch myself looking back. And after three years of being on the sidelines and stands of some of Turlock’s biggest games, I have a lot of memories.

The Harvest Bowl was always something I looked forward to. The most recent one was the most exciting for me, and I was fortunate to be near the action.

The Hilmar High football team’s win in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V title game made me feel like I was part of history. Small-town program beats favored private-school program in Central Catholic of Modesto.

The Turlock High boys basketball team’s run to Arco Arena in 2010 was also quite amazing.

I also remember all the little moments — the ones that I didn’t write about. All the times I talked to the coaches and parents about sports. I built relationships with the players as well, and I will always appreciate their time.

But now, it’s my time to go. It’s a sad farewell for me, but I will never look at Turlock the same again.