Former Carthage Press Sports Editor Corky Simpson officially entered the world of retirement today, posting his final column for the Tuscon Citizen.
In that column, the award-winning sportswriter and columnist reflects on the beginning of his career:
My career began in a log cabin. . . . Well, not really. It began 48 years and 10 months ago in an old brick building in the beautiful little town of Carthage, Mo. I accepted the offer of E.L. Dale to take a sabbatical from college and become the sports editor of the Carthage Evening Press.
I would soon learn that I was also the fire department, police, highway patrol and building-permit editor.
My ambition was to make a little money and return to college. I did the former - I made very little money - but never got back to college.
I quickly fell head over heels in love with this business.
And to borrow from an old fishing buddy of mine, Herman Melville, who said of his whaling ship: "This is my Yale College, this is my Harvard . . ."
The newspaper craft is my alma mater.
In an interview with a college student, Corky offered this thought on one of the most memorable sporting events he covered during his 48-year career:
"I hate to say it, but my first big sports assignment, I was covering a pulling contest at the Jasper County Fair in Missouri.
"Now, a pulling contest is where they have a sled, and they hitch a team of horses to this sled. It usually takes place on a baseball field on the infield dirt from first to second. They hitch horses up to this sled, and they put 100-pound weights on the sled, and they eliminate teams, two horses each. As they add weight, eventually some teams can pull it, and some can't.
"They got down to the championship, and it was between a team of mules and a team of Belgians, which are gigantic horses. The Belgians went first, and they pulled the sled about three-quarters of the way to second base, and the crowd cheered and everything. That's as far as they could go. Then the mules took over. They were really a team. They pulled the sled all the way to second base, and they won the trophy.
"The neat thing was, the tractor went out, unhitched the mules, hitched up the sled and could not pull it (laughs). So that impressed me."