“Great Mystery.” That’s how Inez Castor refers to life’s hidden forces and general unpredictability. This week the winds of “Great Mystery” bring the departure of two Triplicate standard-bearers.
On Friday night, Sports Editor Bill Choy will design his final sports page and put a wrap on a half-decade of reporting the Del Norte sports scene.
Warrior athletics is the great unifier in a community with just one mainstream high school, and Bill covered it all, season by season, team by team. He endeavored to report the result of every varsity contest, and he didn’t stop there. He occasionally noted the exploits of the JV and freshman teams and the middle school squads. And he tracked top Warrior athletes after they graduated and moved on to college and pro sports.
I’m hoping he’ll hand over those cell phone numbers for Buck Pierce and Cody Hoffman, because we have every intention of maintaining the standards he has set.
It won’t be easy. He’s one of the most conscientious journalists I’ve worked with in my nearly 33 years of newspapering.
A couple of weeks ago, assistant wrestling coach Clinton Schaad wrote to say how much he appreciated Bill’s “top notch” coverage of Warrior sports.
“Bill makes every home event and when we have away meets he calls me without fail,” Schaad wrote. “He is so diligent in calling that I find myself going over what I want to tell him about the athletes while the tournaments are still taking place. It is a joy to work with Bill and I look forward to many seasons working with him.”
Alas, “Great Mystery” is taking him elsewhere. Bill will be the sports editor at the Siskiyou Daily News in Yreka, placing him much closer to his fiancée in Ashland.
As for the coiner of that most nebulous of terms, who knows what the future holds for Inez Castor? Certainly not her, but that’s part of her charm.
Each week when she emailed her column, she included a personal note at the top. Sometimes it was just a quick commentary on the weather. Other times it was compelling enough to merit publication if that’s what she had intended.
When I asked, she approved my sharing of excerpts from her note atop what turned out to be her final Gopher Gulch:
“Guys, if I’d had any warning I’d have shared it with you, but I didn’t have a clue until yesterday and thought I’d better sleep on it. Do know it has absolutely nothing to do with you or anyone else at the paper — I admire and like you and have no complaints at all … One of the big problems with living intuitively is that I often find myself doing something and then trying to understand why — this is a big one. For what it’s worth, I’m flabbergasted!”
If you didn’t know her, you might consider such startling self-discovery a sign of a life out of control. She’s quirky, sure, somewhat akin to a Del Norte version of Thoreau. But while she may not always know who’s driving, she keeps the vehicle thoroughly tuned up.
When I called to ask if she was sure about her decision, she told me that she didn’t really consider herself the author of Gopher Gulch: “It was about five years in that I realized it wasn’t me anymore than it was my typewriter writing it.”
She said that made the decision to stop, if not easy, absolutely necessary: “It’s not a matter of ‘can’t,’ it’s ‘won’t.’”
Folks, you can’t argue with that.