As much as I hate to say it, I'm a bit of a softy. I still tear up over “The Waltons” or “Bonanza” reruns.
And it's really tough to watch another group of seniors head off for great adventures in life.
Last Tuesday night was one of those emotional nights as I watched Crestview High School’s baseball team walk off the diamond for the last time in 2013 after losing to Mosley in the Class 6A region semifinals.
For some strange reason, I didn't want to leave the field. Maybe not as much as the players or their parents, but I really didn't want the moment to end.
The Class of 2013 was in kindergarten when I started at the Northwest Florida Daily News on Dec. 28, 2000. Class members were in the seventh grade when I came to the News Bulletin in the spring of 2008.
It’s humbling and frightening to think that in some small way I've had a part in the way these young men and women see sports and perhaps even a bit of themselves.
Yes, I have enjoyed watching the teams, but more than that, I've enjoyed watching the athletes as teammates.
I'll long remember watching Baker School’s volleyball team win most of its 10 straight district championships and Crestview’s baseball team taking two district titles in three years.
However, I'll remember these special young people long after everyone forgets the records.
I've typed the names of countless athletes — including Baker's Haley Wagner, Katie Wickery and Garrett Sanders, Crestview's Micah Reed, Roman Donofro, Tate Sweatt and Kerrie York and Laurel Hill's Tommy Calloway, Garrett Alford, Haley Meeks and Nichole Bailey — more than any other sports writer in Okaloosa County.
Each time I've written these names, and the names of every other young man or woman I've covered, it has been a labor of love.
As parents, grandparents and others have tried to slow each moment for the Class of 2013, most class members have been anxious to move ahead and take their places on college campuses, in the military or the workforce.
Those of us who have been around the block a time or two — or three — can tell this class how quickly the years will pass and to hold tightly to each dwindling day.
But they won't believe how quickly time passes any more than we believed it when our parents and grandparents told us the same thing so many years ago.
Before they know it, these young people will be watching their kids or nieces and nephews preparing to graduate. When that time comes, they will try to warn the Class of 2038 or 2043 how quickly the years pass and to treasure each moment.
I have treasured these moments covering the Class of 2013, but then again, I'm just a big old softy.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.