Sitting on my perch above the basketball court in Niceville High School’s gym last February, I soaked in the surroundings as Crestview and NHS battled for the District 1-7A boys basketball championship.

Nights like that one are what I envisioned when I dreamed about being a sports writer. Games like that are among the many things I’ll miss about being a sports writer.

I started at the Daily News on Dec. 28, 2000. I’ve been at the News Bulletin since March of 2008.

In Ecclesiastes 3, one of my favorite chapters in the Bible, King Solomon writes, “For everything there is a season.” Yes, there are seasons of sorrow and joy, living and dying, planting and harvesting. My life has always seemed to be divided into sports’ seasons: Winter is basketball, spring and summer have been for baseball, and fall has always been football season.

So how do you wrap up a lifetime of dreams in a few paragraphs? How do you walk away from the only thing you ever wanted to do? Neither of those answers come easy, but simply put, it’s time.

I’ve lost track of all the people I’ve worked with and the number of athletes I’ve covered; I won’t mention any names because I know I’d leave too many people out.

But one thing is certain: I’ve been blessed to know countless young men and women whom I have had the joy of covering. I hope I’ve made their high school experience a little more enjoyable.

I have marked the passing of time with the passing of high school athletes who’ve grown from freshmen to seniors.

I will remember athletes and families of athletes opening their hearts to me as they’ve lost a parent or a son or daughter; I hope I’ve told those stories with the compassion and grace that helped ease some of the pain in those difficult days.

I’ll miss the practices and games — I probably won’t know what to do with myself on Friday nights next fall. I know I’ll get the itch to head to a high school football stadium and cover a game.

I’ll miss hanging out with coaches in their offices talking about sports and life.

I’ll also miss those of you who have been faithful readers. Many of you have become dear and trusted friends that have prayed for me as I’ve gone through some of the tough seasons of my life. Your words of encouragement won’t be forgotten and the memories will always be treasured.

And now, it is time to say good bye. Feel free to email me at BigRandle@ymail.com or send me a friend request on Facebook.

I close with words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 1:3: “I thank my God upon every memory of you.”

Thanks for the memories, and God bless.

Email BigRandle@ymail.com or tweet @BigRandle to contact Randy Dickson. We thank Randy for eight years of excellence at the Crestview News Bulletin, and we wish him well in his next endeavors.