Norm Sanders has been a fixture of Southern Illinois high school sports in Illinois for over 30 years at the News-Democrat in Belleville. Sanders recently announced that he has accepted a new job outside of the newspaper business. Below is Norm's final column at the BND, as well as interview with him.
Norm Sanders, Belleville News-Democrat:
I looked up from my laptop on a Saturday night in January, nearly finished with my basketball game story from the Nashville Invitational Tournament.
An Assembly Hall gym that an hour or so earlier had been full of fans was now deserted except for me and the janitorial crew. No players, no coaches, no officials.
The cleaning crew were doing their best to clear away the remains of what those fans left behind in the seats and bleachers while the stereo system cranked out tunes from Bob Seger, Johnny Cash and REO Speedwagon.
“On a long and lonesome highway, east of Omaha ...” played as I finished my story. I told them good-bye on my way out the door — the cleaning crew at Nashville always had the best music — and headed toward home.
As I prepare to write the final few stories of a sportswriting career at the Belleville News-Democrat that spanned nearly 32 years, I thought of nights just like that. Many, many nights like that.
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