SportStars Magazine

Rewarding Moments

My favorite times to cover and write about high school sports will always be warm September nights for high school football, March evenings in packed-to-the-rafters gyms for playoff basketball, and the final weeks of May and early June at events that honor athletes I’ve covered throughout the year.

For several years, I was a key member of the planning team for an end of the year banquet held by a previous publication. For three of those years, I was a co-host. Those nights were some of the most fun I’ve had amongst high school athletes.

So often, we reporters only get to interact with these athletes in a finite timeline after a contest. It makes seeing them relaxed and apart from the arena that much more refreshing.

I had that opportunity on May 21 as part of SportStars All-City Awards event in which we honor several Sac-Joaquin Section athletes at Raley Field in partnership with the Sacramento River Cats. Past commitments have prevented me from attending previous versions of the event, but I was pleased when I knew I could be part of this year’s event.

More than 500 athletes across 20+ sports were named to the All-City Team, and approximately 300 were able to attend the ceremony.

I spent the most time talking with Athlete of the Year winners, Granite Bay basketball and baseball standout Darren Nelson, and Sheldon-Sacramento softball star Taliyah Miles. SportStars senior writer Jim McCue and I stood in the tunnel with them for close to 20 minutes as we awaited the pregame presentation of their awards.

Among our conversation topics were how Nelson became a Dodgers fan — his hat elicited pained looks from some of the employees of the River Cats (the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate). We also got Miles’ unabashed take on the Delaware State University mascot. She’ll play for the Hornets next season. And she’s fine with the mascot, but she’s just not sure how it pairs with the school’s blue and red color scheme.

Both athletes were extremely polite with everyone they dealt with and great examples of the type of kids and athletes we seek to promote. And in the end, it made me nostalgic for those previous awards banquets.

Which has us at SportStars wondering what it would take to host a year-end honors event for more than just the athletes of the Greater Sacramento Area. We’re gonna put our heads together, and perhaps talk to our friends at Cal-Hi Sports, and see what we might be able to construct for the future.

In the meantime, our annual Bay Area 75 Awards will be part of our upcoming Yearbook Special Edition on June 22. If there’s an athlete from one of the nine Bay Area counties that you’d like to nominate, please email me (the address is at the bottom of the page) by June 9.

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