Soon, we welcome 2016, and on Dec. 30, I celebrated my 15th year covering Northwest Florida sports.  

Where does the time go?

I graduated from high school in 1976, so I’ve spent more than one third of my adult life roaming Okaloosa, Walton and Santa Rosa counties' sidelines and court sides.

When I started working at the Northwest Florida Daily News in December of 2000, I was about the same age as most parents of athletes I covered. Now, I’m the age of many grandparents of athletes I cover.  

I have been around the area long enough to watch a generation of athletes go from kindergarten to graduation and college.

All I can say is, “Wow.”

This time of year, I get a bit melancholy. I try to hold tight to the old year's memories while, at the same time, think of the promises and adventures a new year holds.

The truth is, none of us knows what tomorrow holds. Any of us could be a minute away from an event, good or bad, that will forever change our lives.

I wish in 2016 more good than bad for not only athletes, coaches and their families, but for all of you who faithfully read the News Bulletin online or in the print edition.

If I had some magical power to make 2016 special, I would give us more wins than losses. But there would be losses, as sometimes the greatest lessons in sports — and in life — are learned in defeat.

It would be nice if all local teams would win district, region and state championships, but we all know that will never happen.

What I do wish for each athlete is joy in the journey of sports. Take time to savor the moments with teammates and friends, because those moments will carry you through life's tough times.

This is the column when I usually make bold predictions. This year, I feel more old than bold, so I won’t go out on too long of a limb.

I do predict that Baker School’s football and volleyball teams will again win district championships. I see Crestview’s football team going the distance, if the Bulldogs can develop a running game.

I predict Crestview’s boys basketball team will win its third-straight district championship.

Other than that, I don’t know what to predict.

I do know that 2016 will be full of seasons of change both in sports and in life that in time will help define each of us.

Happy New Year!