It is July 11, 2000, and I’m in Rockport watching the MLB All-Star Game with friends. I drove to Rockport after spending much of the day unpacking my new apartment in Waterville. This apartment does not have cable yet, and I want to watch the game, so driving an hour or so to Rockport is a small chore.

Plus, I am nervous and could use the company of friends. Tomorrow I start a new job at the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal. For the last 13 months, I’ve been a do-it-all reporter, covering courts, local government, the New Hampshire presidential primary, and sports. This gig is strictly sports, and I don’t know if i can pull this off. Can I pull this off…

It is July 11, 2020, and I’m on my couch in Waterville. An all-star game scheduled to be played in three days is not going to happen. Very little in sports happens these days, but I find things on which to write. Breaking news and stories reminiscing about the good old days.

Every sniffle or sneeze causes a brief panic, before I move on and continue typing with hands perpetually chapped from so much washing…

It is February 22, 2013, and Hampden Academy freshman Nick Gilpin makes a halfcourt shot to beat Lawrence in the Class A East boys basketball championship game. An early print deadline is sprinting toward me. I anticipate that collision, and block erase the first two paragraphs of a lede nobody but me will ever read. I’ll do this again…

It is March 13, 2020, and I’m retracing my steps. How many people were crammed into the Pit at the University of Maine last Sunday for the women’s basketball playoff game? One thousand? Two thousand? How many people were in the crowded Portland restaurant two nights earlier? How many people in the coffee shops and grocery stores, and where had they been?

A few days later, I hear a referee who worked the UMaine men’s basketball game at Vermont has the virus. I had been at UMaine women’s basketball practice on March 10 to conduct interviews for a few stories. How many of them had been in contact with players from the men’s team? I retrace my steps again…

It’s January 29, 2002, and I’m driving east of out Rangeley. It’s snowing, but not too hard. “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin is playing on the radio, and the flakes seem to dance to the song’s long instrumental. I just covered the Valley High School boys basketball team’s lopsided win over Rangeley. An unremarkable game, except it’s the 100th straight victory for the Cavaliers.

I’ve been at this job for a year and a half, and I wonder how many more historic moments I’ll cover. On a dark, snowy night on a quiet western Maine road, that thought is daunting…

It is November 19, 2016, and I’m in the press box at Portland’s Fitzpatrick Stadium. Once again, I’m deleting blocks of text, this time from a column. The Maine Central Institute football team just turned a botched field goal try into the play of the decade in Maine high school football, with holder Eli Bussell picking up the snap he dropped and running 27 yards for the game-winning, championship-winning touchdown on the game’s final play.

I do math in my head. I know how much time I have to file a new column. I know I have time to run to the field and get those first, breathless quotes from Bussell and his coach Tom Bertrand, then make it back to the press box with plenty of time to write. I’ve been here before…

It is a February night in 2004, and I’m in the press room at the Bangor Auditorium. I’m waiting for my turn to use the one phone line available for reporters and photographers to file their work. A decade from now, I will grumble when slow WiFi hampers the process in the new Cross Insurance Center.

It is February 28, 2020, and the print deadline passed without a thought. I have all the time I need to write something on the fantastic double overtime Class B state championship game Caribou just won over Maranacook. Hopefully, all the time I need comes before the crew cleaning the Cross Insurance Center wants to kick me out…

It is summer 2014, and I’m drinking a beer with Gary Hawkins, a friend and coworker who recently retired. Hawk sips his beer and reminds me that now, I am the longest-tenured sports writer on the Central Maine sports staff. The thought of that is jarring…

It is April 10, 2020, and I’m in an empty Morning Sentinel newsroom. I needed to get a few things from my desk to bring back to my new desk, AKA my coffee table. We’re all a newsroom of one.

I look around at a room that should be bustling. It is silent, and I still feel as if maybe I’ve overstayed my welcome. The last month has been the most stressful of my career, and that feeling of  looming dread shows no signs of letting up soon. That question is always there, although most of the time, it’s faint, barely audible. Lately, it’s raised its voice.

Can I pull this off?

 

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM


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