As if it hasn’t been obvious, sports life in Kansas City has really become exciting.
The Royals finished their season with their best record in 24 years, the Chiefs are 4-0, and the Missouri Tigers are out of the gate with a 4-0 start (although a tough SEC schedule is right around the corner).
It is a wonderful situation for a local sports writer.
That being said, it’s a perfect time to congratulate Dick Puhr, longtime Examiner sports writer, for his induction into the William Chrisman Hall of Fame last Saturday. I have known Mr. Puhr since I was 8 years old – when I began playing baseball in the Eastern Jackson County Little League program.
At that time he covered every sporting event in the area from youth games all the way up to pro games. He covered literally every athletic event. For 40-plus years, young Jackson County athletes grew up hopeful that they would perform well enough in any given game to earn the attention of Mr. Puhr in an interview.
As a high school athlete in the 1960s, it was exciting to get the paper to see if Dick Puhr had written something about you or your team. His tradition of high school sports coverage became the best in the state of Missouri.
I don’t think most athletes, coaches and parents are aware how rare it is to have such extensive coverage for local athletes and teams. It all began with Dick Puhr as a sportswriter for The Examiner.
My experience through the years with Dick Puhr is that he has always had a fair approach to what he reports. Now that I have also been with The Examiner for a number of years, I realize it is not an easy task to put your thoughts on paper.
Mr. Puhr had a way of bringing life to high school sports. I have an enormous amount of respect for Dick’s tireless work ethic. It seemed like that guy was at every game during my high school years.
He is also a walking encyclopedia when it comes to the history of local sports. He loved covering the big games and can still tell you exactly who did what in every contest. He became friends with my parents and before beginning any conversation with me, he would first ask about them.
Sportscasters tend to have many critics, but most people respect Dick because he is fair and honest. Dick was one of the first in the industry to step up and question out-of-control parents. Sometimes people do not want to hear the truth, but he tells it like it is.
Before I reply to strange emails from people who appear to have no clue, I always ask myself how Dick would handle this one. He has been a great coaches’ advocate as long as the coach worked hard and had the best interest of the athlete at heart. However, if a coach was all about themselves, he would find a way to professionally call them out.
Dick would keep athletic directors on their toes – he would ask for schedules months in advance. The guy was organized, and he expected you to be just as organized.
If you have lived in Independence in the last 55 years, you are familiar with his contribution to the community. He has served in many capacities to help local organizations. Not many times does a guy who writes become the topic of an article. I thought it was time.
Dick Puhr has been a major positive in high school sports for over 50 years and it is high time he gets his due recognition.
Congratulations on your Hall of Fame induction and thank you for telling the local sports stories for so many years.
• It is totally amazing to watch the Chiefs play and see the drastic team improvement under great coaching. Thank goodness Clark Hunt manned up and hired Andy Reid and John Dorsey. Arrowhead rocked against the Giants. It is the place to be again. Fun stuff!
• The year 2014 has to be a playoff year for the Royals – once again we are seeing Royals jerseys all over town. Pray for a power hitter and a No. 2 quality starter.
• My quote of the week comes from NBA coach and Celtics Hall of Famer Red Auerbach: ”I have built up a reputation of saying what I believe. I’m not always right, but at least it’s what I believe.”
Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 5-6 p.m. every Thursday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at email@example.com