Out of Bounds: Hill will definitely be missed

Kyle Hightower

Confession time.

One of my favorite shows on television is HBO’s “Sex and the City.”

I know, I know. But wait guys, don’t revoke my man card just yet – allow me to explain.

I’d be willing to guess there are a few other men out there who have snuck a peek or two at the musings of Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte for one reason or another.

I liked the show mostly because the main character, Carrie Bradshaw (played by Sarah Jessica Parker) was a columnist. Every episode was a play off of her weekly musings on sex, dating, relationships and basically her nutty life.

It even included short vignettes of the blond ball of spunk and whit tapping away at her laptop, complete with words just rolling across the screen with perfect meter and flow.

She wrote about what she knew, what she loved and what she enjoyed.

Though the show is just a fictional depiction and microcosm of life, avoiding engulfing myself in the show was always hard for one reason: Carrie was living a writer’s dream.

Life unfolded before her eyes and she wrote what she saw. Plain. Simple. Direct.

That is what this column has largely been for me the past four years, a chance to do it my way. A chance to sit on the sidelines and watch Western sports history unfold and sometimes unravel before my eyes.

Were you there the night Western’s women’s basketball team finally upended Louisiana Tech?

Were you there?

Were you there when Jack Harbaugh was left speechless on the biggest moment of his career? Were you nearby to see a Western football great, Willie Taggart, embrace the less athletically-gifted but lion-hearted Jason Michael?

I remember talking with all three of them countless times. I hear their voices, their quips, their spirit and their fire.

I told Jack once after that magical 2002 national championship run that if he left Western before me, it would be a sad day for me as a reporter.

Though he did wind up stepping out before my days were done, the old coach with the unforgettable style and smile promised he’d always keep in touch.

Though I’m headed far from his new home in Wisconsin once I bid Western farewell, I am inclined to believe we will share a beer and old times sometime in the future.

Were you there for the final game for Natalie Powers, LaVonda Johnson and Katie Wulf? Could you feel the emotions rolling off puffy cheeks and somber hearts as they stood one final time to conquer the adversity their respective careers had seen?

Were you inspired?

Were you there when Travis Hudson and Western’s women’s volleyball team finally packed their bags for an appearance in the NCAA tournament? Were you there to see near misses and almost-but-not-quites turn into pure joy?

Will you be there when one of the nicest and more respectable coaches the Hill has ever seen claims that first NCAA win?

I wish I could, coach. Look for that call when it happens.

You too, Coach Elson. I want to hear all about Western’s second national championship one day. Between you and Coach Taggart, it is bound to happen.

And therein lies yet another wrinkle to the joy I have toward my own accomplishments. Like many of the athletes I have covered on the Hill, it is now time for me to depart from the sidelines, locker rooms and bid farewell to midnight study sessions.

I am realizing more than ever that the triumphs, heartaches, feuds and fodder I have seen over and over again mirror my own journey through dear, old Western.

I tried hard to never be a typical fan and to separate myself from the school I attended and the athletes I covered.

But with such great personalities and personal stories of growth, it has been hard. And it makes it even harder to shoot the deuces and say “peace” now.

If I’m lucky, though, I’ll be a columnist again like Carrie and I’ll get to go out of bounds one more time.

My way. Just like always.

Kyle Hightower is a graduating former volleyball reporter, football reporter, basketball reporter, and columnist. He will be joining the Orlando Sentinel’s sports section in June.