Colleague, friend will be missed
It seems just like yesterday when Inter-Mountain Executive Editor Matthew Burdette introduced me to the newest addition to the sports staff.
After a brief exchange, the topic of favorite teams was quickly introduced to the conversation.
“Of course I’m a Dallas Cowboys fan,” my new colleague said. “Isn’t everyone?”
I quickly replied, “Well I’m not. I like the Steelers.”
So began my relationship with Steve Swick, who unexpectedly passed away on Sunday morning.
Even though we differed on NFL teams, Steve and I had a great working relationship.
His dedication in covering local sports was second to none. He spent hours studying teams and double checking the facts for his stories.
He went out of his way to improve in his new profession. I remember sending him to cover a soccer game. Knowing little about the sport before venturing out for the first time, I was amazed a week later when he knew the differences between a free, penalty and corner kick.
Steve also had a great demeanor with his fellow employees, along with high school and college coaches as well. At least one or two laughs were always shared during a discussion.
Even when he was having a bad day, Steve’s eyes lit up when I mentioned Mountaineer football.
I sometimes tested his knowledge of the Mountaineers – which gave him a big kick – by asking him a question out of the blue.
Steve almost always knew the answer. And if he didn’t, he would make one up.
Tennis was another sport Steve loved. I still remember watching him sneak up to the television in the newsroom in an attempt to change the channel to the U.S. Open. He knew I would give him a hard time if I saw him switching to tennis instead of football or baseball, so he was very wary of the situation.
At some point during the evening, he asked if I was going to put the U.S. Open results in the paper. I told him probably not because of space issues. Of course I was going to, but I wanted to give him a hard time.
Lo and behold when I returned to work the following day, there was Steve with a big grin holding that day’s paper in hand and pointing to the article on the U.S. Open.
I will miss Steve. As I write this column, the desk he occupied during his time at The Inter-Mountain is empty.
I feel sad that I will no longer be able to look over at him from my desk and debate sports.
I also still have the last and final email I will receive from Steve.
It was after the Cowboys lost to the Eagles, which eliminated Dallas from the playoffs.
True to form, Steve had a few choice words about his favorite team.
I plan to keep this email.
It reminds me of him and I have read it over and over since his death, wishing I had the chance to say goodbye.
Rest in peace, Steve.