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Dave Selvig: It's been a good run

Dave Selvig (top left) shares a moment with his youngest daughter, Kate, while covering his final Jamestown High School football game as an employee of The Sun on Sept. 1 at Ernie Gates Field. The Blue Jays defeated Watford City 43-6. Selvig has accepted the job of sports editor at the Bismarck Tribune. Michael Savaloja / The Sun

A couple years ago when my grandma died, my mom asked if I would give a speech at the funeral on behalf of my massive throng of cousins.

Having spent a summer living with my grandma, and having great affection for her, I felt pressure to produce something good.

I felt that same pressure writing this column because after nearly 18 years this is my swan song as a sports writer at The Jamestown Sun.

See, I'm a terrible handyman. I once tried to hang sheetrock in my basement and it ended up looking like a piece of swiss cheese. I can't sing or dance a lick, nor can I cook anything other than a frozen pizza. Luckily, my wife can as evidence by my weight, which now starts with a 2 instead of 1.

If I have a core competency it's in sports. Playing, talking or writing about sports have been my wheelhouse, but trying to sum up 18 years in Jamestown without boring you out of your gourd seems like a daunting task.

Sometimes, people who write going-away pieces like this list off the best athletes they've covered, the most memorable games, their favorite venues and the like. Indeed, those things are important. We wouldn't keep score if they were not.

But the wins and losses, highs and lows, names and faces fade over time. What maintain are relationships and friendships and that's what I leave here with.

The number of inches I typed from interviews with Lawrie Paulson, Tom Hager, Dave Tews, Bill Nelson, Cory Anderson, Greg Ulland, Tom Gould, Dave Handt, Dean Kraft, Jim Roaldson, Bud Etzold, Josh Kittell, Morgan Dale, Jarelle Miller, Hannah Steele, Mark Hoge, Bryan Erstad, Brent Krause, Danny White, Laura Kraft, Brequan Tucker, Jason Schutt among many others, could probably fill the Encyclopedia Britannica. Do those still exist?

But what I'll remember is sitting at Jimmie basketball games with Lawrie talking about history, or the Yankees, or how it came to be that referees wear striped shirts.

Tom, Cory and I talked more NAIA, NDCAC, DAC, AII, NSAA—the alphabet soup of college baseball—than probably any trio in history. But what I'll remember most is watching our kids grow up together. Or more appropriately, watching my oldest daughter grow up at their houses!

Late in the summer, amateur baseball teams from around the state would come to Jamestown. Watching guys who worked a job all week come and play ball on the weekend was fun. But even more enjoyable was listening to stories from TG, RD and Jeff from years gone by. Always, and I mean always, ending with a laugh. Jeff has told me on multiple occasions I'm an honorary member of the "Gould Clan." I'm very proud of that.

Talking to coaches after a tough loss is never easy for the interviewee, or interviewer. But with Bill or Greg, they'd crack a joke to break the ice. Or with Bud, he'd spin a long yarn about a boy, his dog and their journey to find happiness. Yet somehow, it all made sense.

Mark Schuttenhelm and Bernie Kuntz provided our sports and outdoors sections with colorful, insightful and interesting columns through the years, for which I am grateful. The three of us probably agree on almost nothing politically, but my email exchanges with Mark and Bernie regularly went 12, 13 or more deep. Proving despite our differences, we can all get along. Quite well, in fact.

But what I'll remember, and miss the most, are my friends at The Sun.

When my youngest daughter Kate was born three months premature 10 years ago, the fine folks at The Sun raised $1,000 for my family.

When I made a mess of attempting to install a new door knob, or after making mincemeat out of sheetrock, guess who was there to fix it within the hour? John M. Steiner. Of course, when two men have shared hotel rooms on road trips, their bond is deep.

When I needed a ride to or from an oil change; a great photo taken from any event on late notice; to cover a busy weekend all by himself; or just to vent about life, my close personal friend Mike Savaloja was there. Just like he'll be here now to take over the sports department in a very tough spot, but nobody will try harder than Mike.

When bonehead Selvig wrecked the blade on his mower—or when I blew a tire on the way back from a game in Dickinson—Chris Aarhus was there to bail me out on both accounts.

When I needed a night off from the rat race, but there were still sports pages to be proofed; or when I needed a bushel of free cucumbers, tomatoes, or corn on the cob, my friend, mentor and ace gardner Kathy Steiner checked all those boxes.

Got a question about HR, computers, printers, sports, or just about anything else in life? Jack-of-all-trades Kathy Hilgemann has the answer.

Need a rummage sale ad in the paper (free for Sun employees) Robyn McDonald had it right at the top of the list.

If I needed a random fact about Valley City State, a subtle jab at the Jimmies, an inspirational pep talk or a little more money to make the right hire, the bosses in the corner office (Rob Keller and Bruce Henke) were clutch on all accounts.

Nearly everybody I mentioned, and believe me there are many more, have in many cases dedicated their lives to The Jamestown Sun. As the smart readers of The Sun realize, times are tough right now in the newspaper business. Not just in Jamestown, but almost everywhere.

But the hard-working and dedicated employees of this newspaper care deeply about what they do and try everyday to produce a quality product because we know how much the newspaper means to the people of this area. I realized it quite often in my email inbox, or on my voicemail ... or when I got ambushed by a little old lady at a graduation party. Please everybody, don't tell her I'm going to the Bismarck Tribune to be the sports editor!

I've always tried to be quick and to the point in my writing, that way I could get more done. Clearly, I failed miserably in that regard this time. But, this job, this town and these people have meant a lot to me. And for that, I say thank you, and I hope to see you soon.

Dave Selvig
Selvig has been a sports writer at The Sun since 1999 and sports editor since 2009.
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