“Conner’s Corner” Numbers game

By: Ray Conner
Sports Editor

As the years have drifted by, it’s hard to imagine that I’ve been a sports writer for close to 22 years. On Feb. 27 it will be any way.

I still remember how it all came about. I was working at Builder’s Mart in Mt. Mesa. It was a Wednesday and I saw a little blurb in the sports section that they were looking for a sports writer. I said a simple little prayer, “Lord if this is for me I leave it in your hands.”

I contacted the Sun and went in to have an interview with Bret Bradigan who at that time was the publisher. I remember him setting me up in his office and gave me some stat sheets. He said, “Here write a story on this.”
Well I did and as they say, “The rest is history.”

And with the recent celebration of the Kern Valley Sun’s 60th Anniversary it got me to thinking. Yeah, there is a little bit of brain matter left despite the fact I will be 60 in March. Yup, I came into existence just a few months after the Sun was born. Nobody knows their fate, but mine was to be connected with the Kern Valley Sun doing something I have done quite a lot in my life. Play sports and even more so write about sports.

Since the world of sports has moved into a numbers game with the advent of analytics, I have my own set of numbers to deal with.

So with the paper being 60, I have been there for one third of its life. For a simple man, such as myself, that takes some brain matter to comprehend. Barring days off over those 20 plus years, and figuring there is 52 weeks in a year, that’s 3,120 issues of the Kern Valley Sun. Now taking my 22 years, I have written in 1,144 issues. That’s 37 percent of the issues that have been published. See there is a numbers game involved in being a sports writer/editor.

The title of Sports Editor was bestowed on me around 2003 I think. In those 22 years, I have seen tons of quality athletes that have been covered from the time they were youngsters all the way through their high school days and some even at the next level. That even includes my own three children that made their mark in Kern Valley High School athletics and youth sports in the valley. There are quite a few sports that this small valley has going on. There are even some that do not get reported on because no one wants to share with us. Over the years I have vented from this format, but that is not what this is about this time.

This is about the numbers game that I have in my soon to be 22 years at the Kern Valley Sun.

I’m not sure of the total number, but I know there have been lots and lots of people come through our doors in my 22 years and a location move.

Many of those were in a transitional phase moving on to other things. Some even stayed in the journalism game.

This No. 1 guy, that’s for you Christina Denys, is still plodding through stats, game results, converting the numbers into telling the story of the contest. I take special pride in conveying the numbers to the story, so the readers can get a clear picture in their minds though my words.

Well that is my hope any way.

Currently, I am technically the third longest tenured employee at the Kern Valley Sun. Michelle is the “old lady” of the group. Behind her is the technical part of this, Marsha, who now owns the Kern Valley Sun, has been here longer than I have. But with her being the owner, I guess technically that means I am the second.

Well there you have it, the numbers in 60 years and my 22 years of the privilege of working for the Kern Valley Sun.