Loss of Rocky affects us all

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By Dan Johnson

I don’t like Bob Dylan, but I can’t help but repeat one of his most famous song titles over-and-over in my mind.

“The Times They Are A-Changin.”

Last week saw the end of an era in Colorado as the Rocky Mountain News closed after nearly 150 years of publishing newspapers.

With its closing, prep sports coverage as we’ve grown to know it, will forever be different.

The Rocky did more than an adequate job of covering prep sports. Their dedication to covering anything and everything helped push papers like the one you are reading today to greater levels.

And sure, there were times when the Rocky scooped me and I scooped them, but that’s the beauty of journalism; we were all working our hardest to provide, you, the reader, with information you can’t find anywhere else.

Over the last five years I grew to know Rocky prep freelance writers like Paul Willis, Brad Byler and John Rosa pretty well. Seeing them at a game you were covering not only meant that game carried extra importance, it also meant, for me, that I’d have a good time over the next few hours as we sat and debated various topics, both locally and nationally, in sports.

Perhaps the Rocky’s biggest contribution to prep sports was the RockyPreps website. I don’t know of a single writer at any paper in the state that didn’t religiously go to the RockyPreps pages for standings and statistics of various leagues and teams. The site certainly helped make a tough job a little easier. Now, that information will be harder to come by, although I strongly encourage parents and coaches to send any and all statistical information my way.

On a final note, I want to take time to thank former Rocky prep editor, Gerry Valerio, for his friendship. From the moment I met Gerry he treated me as an equal, something that as a weekly reporter, you don’t always get from employees at larger daily papers.

Gerry would also go out of his way to e-mail me with compliments about things he read in the Courier. He was even kind enough to allow me the opportunity to write a few stories for the Rocky. It’s something I’ll never forget. Gerry, next lunch is on me.

While the sports calendar will continue to turn, the games I cover from here on out will not be the same. Thanks for the memories, Rocky preps reporters. It was a blast  to work alongside you all.