Washington Evening Journal

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Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 24, 2017

Talk With D-Rok: a fond farewell

By Derek Helling, Sports Editor | May 08, 2014
Photo by: Journal file photo Derek Helling

To borrow a line from Washington High School’s new head football coach, Garrison Carter, I wouldn’t be doing myself justice if I passed on an opportunity to reach new heights in my career. I’m writing this to confirm that the rumors you’ve probably heard are true.
I have accepted an offer to become the sports editor of the Lake Sun newspaper in Camdenton, Mo. My last day at The Washington Evening Journal will be one week from today, Thursday, May 15.
It’s nothing personal, Washington. I sincerely appreciate every one of you who purchased a paper and took the time to glance over my page. One of the greatest trepidations of a journalist is that her/his work will go unnoticed. The worst thing isn’t to be hated. I welcome that with open arms because people pay attention to things they hate. The worst thing for a sports media personality is to be irrelevant. That is the last thing I have felt here.
I have enjoyed covering your sports and talking with you through my columns about important subjects. I will never forget my first home Demon boys’ basketball game, when Washington came from 18 down in the fourth quarter to win. Other memories I will take with me include the smile of Washington High School senior Grace Redlinger, which ranks as the biggest and cheesiest that I’ve seen in nearly 33 years of life.
In a way, this is not only an opportunity for me, but for you as well. I feel that I have built upon the quality of coverage that The Washington Evening Journal provides. It is now your job to help the man or woman who comes into the position in my place to do the same.
I’m speaking to the athletes, the coaches and the parents. Communicate with whoever follows me. Let her/him know everything he/she needs to know in order to do the job well. With your help, I’m certain that the next individual will do a much better job than I did.
Thanks for the opportunity, Washington. I’m sure that I’ll keep up on what’s going on here throughout the rest of my career, as you never really get over your first love.

Comments (3)
Posted by: Glen Peiffer | May 16, 2014 21:09
Posted by: Glen Peiffer | May 15, 2014 02:45

I enjoyed your column and sorry to see you leave the Journal. Best wishes at your new position!

Posted by: Glen Peiffer | May 10, 2014 00:00

The Spirit of YouthTexas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel reacts after being selected by the Cleveland Browns as the 22nd pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Thursday, May 8, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Johnny Football is the first freshman in NCAA history to win the Heisman Trophy and pass for 3000 yards and rush for 1000 yards in a single season. There will be struggles, of course. All rookies go through an adjustment period when they get to the NFL — especially when you’re talking about a quarterback who is just 21 years old, who played just two years of college ball at Texas A&M. Manziel’s style will get plenty of scrutiny, too. He is surely not the prototype quarterback, being a shade under 6 feet, a guy who dazzles with his speed as well as his arm, who thrives more on improvisation than he does with set plays. The key for the Browns will be finding a way to hone those skills, to let Manziel be Manziel while gradually reining in the sort of anything-goes mindset that won’t fly in the NFL. Twelve of Cleveland’s 16 games next season are against teams that could’ve picked him but didn’t. He’s surely got all of them circled already.
“There are a lot of teams that did pass me up,” Manziel said not long after he was finally taken. “You do grow a little bit of a chip.”

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