Having worked here at the newspaper for the last 18 years has allowed me to cover and be around some pretty amazing athletes.
And not just on a professional level either.
Just stop and think for a second the incredible basketball talent we have been able to witness here in Anamosa just over the last five or six years?
Last week Raider senior Spencer Barnes joined only former Anamosa all-everything superstar Colten Kelly as two-time Anamosa boys basketball All-State honorees.
Barnes was named a second-team All-State pick by the Iowa Newspaper Association a year ago before his first-team All-State selection by a panel of sportswriters made him just the second-ever Raider boys basketball player to be so honored.
Kelly was the first six years ago when he was named first-teamer by the INA, a year after he was a third-team pick as a junior.
For me, not only covering but knowing these two athletes on a personal level has been extremely rewarding.
Kelly grew up playing basketball with me in my driveway, and watching him grow into not only one of Anamosa’s all-time greatest basketball players, but best athlete ever, is something I will never forget.
Barnes follows the same path as Kelly for me.
I was lucky enough to sit on the sideline with Spencer’s father Kevin, helping coach a third-grade Barnes. I watched, usually with utter amazement, as Spencer’s game, and range grew and grew over the years.
Being a manager on almost all of his dad’s Anamosa basketball teams over the years, Spencer also watched and learned during Kelly’s amazing three years at the varsity level.
While Barnes and Kelly are slightly different players in regards to how they played the game, they both leave a mark on the program that will never be forgotten.