Saturday, February 4, 2023
Feb. 4, 2023

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Martinez: Hand-delivered gifts for All-Region fall honorees — printed e-edition pages

By , Columbian Assistant Sports Editor

Every time we are compiling our All-Region teams at the end of a sports season, there always comes a question from an athlete or a coach about when the package will run in print. They want to make sure to get a printed copy.

Those questions struck with me this fall, when we made a slight change to the way we unveiled our All-Region teams, creating a special e-edition page for each team.

Now, while it was possible for readers to download a PDF file of that page and print it all at home, I thought that most folks’ printing capabilities would be limited to an 8½-by-11 inch page, which is a little small for a product meant to be displayed larger.

Knowing that The Columbian had the ability to print a large page, I decided to print off 85 paper proofs of our fall All-Region teams, one for each athlete selected. That way each honoree could have a physical keepsake of their accomplishment.

Then came next question of how I was going to get those copies to the athletes.

I could mail them, but that would involved folding these pages. I did not want to do that. So the only option was for me to deliver them myself.

And that’s what I did last Wednesday and Thursday, visiting 18 high schools in Clark and Cowlitz counties.

Because of a scheduling commitment, I would only be available to deliver these pages in the afternoon, giving me a three-to-four-hour window before school offices close for the day. That meant breaking the adventure into two days.

I started on Wednesday, and my first stop was Hockinson High School at 12:25 p.m. Next it was Prairie at 12:34 p.m., then Battle Ground at 12:45 p.m.

From there, it was north to Kalama at 1:20 p.m. Then it was onto Longview and Kelso, hitting R.A. Long at 1:51 p.m., Mark Morris at 2 p.m. and Kelso at 2:11 p.m.

Turning back south, I arrived next at La Center High School at 2:45 p.m., which is right about the time students are released to go home. Getting into the main office felt very much like a salmon swimming upstream.

From there, I went next to Ridgefield at 3:07 p.m., and then my final stop of the day was at Seton Catholic at 3:30 p.m.

Because students had left for the day, I parked in a senior’s parking spot marked “Jocelyn.” Considering what I was doing, I probably should have parked in the spot marked “Mooney.”

Thursday’s tour started sharply at noon with a stop at Evergreen. Mountain View was next at 12:09 p.m., then Union at 12:22 p.m.

I made it Camas at 12:38 p.m., dropping off pages for 15 athletes — the most of any school. Next it was Washougal at 12:57 p.m.

From there, I went west down State Route 14 which took me to Hudson’s Bay at 1:25 p.m., and then up Columbia River at 1:38 p.m.

After a quick break for lunch, I left Skyview as my final stop, tying it in with an athlete-of-the-week presentation scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

Arriving at Skyview at 2:16 p.m., I noticed the flurry of traffic at the main entrance, as school was releasing for the day. So I opted to skirt around to the back of the school and parked in the staff lot.

As I walked around to the front entrance, I heard someone call out “Tim!” Figuring that it was a call not meant for me, I moved on. But again it came “Tim! Hey Tim!” So I looked over and saw Skyview football player and All-Region honoree Ty Evans.

“Are you delivering the All-Region pages?” Evans asked. I had shared what I was doing on social media on Wednesday.

I told him I was.

“Could I get mine please?” he asked.

As I handed Ty his copy it dawned on me that through all these travels, I did not get the opportunity to present these pages to honorees directly. All the other pages were handed to school staff members for distribution to students.

Bumping into Ty gave me that opportunity.

Actually, I had two chances of doing that at Skyview. As I hustled my way through that back parking lot, I’m pretty sure I spotted cross country runner Daphne Evenson. But I was in such a rush, I did not stop to ask. Sorry Daphne.

Driving around those two days gave me a lot of time to think.

I wondered if I was setting myself for future hardships. Doing this after the fall season meant I would have to do it again after winter and spring seasons.

The winter season should not be much of an issue. But in the spring, we don’t unveil all of our All-Region teams until the middle of June, after many schools have held graduations and released students for the summer. That will create some hurdles.

Then I started to wonder if this was all worthwhile. Would the effort be appreciated?

I received a lot of thanks from staffers in the school offices, but it’s hard to gauge what a teenager might think.

But bumping into Ty Evans gave me at least one answer.

“Thanks,” he said after I handed him the pages. “I’m going to put this up in my room.”

Mission accomplished.