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Sitting Ringside

A whirlwind week

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When you do what you love and love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.
That’s my regular reminder that I have my dream job, combining my love for sports and writing. It’s a phrase I’ve uttered more than once in November, when my worlds as a columnist who covers high school football, Pitt basketball and boxing collided and made for an incredibly busy past few weeks.
It started with a column reminiscing the unforgettable run by former Woodland Hills star Steve Breaston against Central Catholic in the 2001 WPIAL Class AAAA championship game. A dozen years later, Woodland Hills and Central met for a WPIAL title rematch.
The storyline on Saturday was about North Catholic winning its first WPIAL title at Heinz Field, the alma mater of Steelers chairman Dan Rooney claiming a championship at the home of his family franchise.
I followed the Trojans to their locker room, where Rooney and Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert were waiting outside to congratulate every player and coach for their accomplishment. North coach Bob Ravenstahl asked Rooney to speak to the team, and he joked that today’s players were “bigger, smarter and faster” but that “we were tougher.” The players asked Rooney join their team photo, and surrounded him as he held the WPIAL trophy.
That column touched on every championship game, from the story of Central’s O’Neill family to West Allegheny’s Bob Palko becoming the first coach in WPIAL history to win seven outright district titles to South Fayette’s Conner Beck making a dream come true at the expense of Aliquippa star Dravon Henry, whose hopes were crushed.
On Monday, I drove to Brooklyn to cover Pitt basketball in the Legends Classic. This was supposed to present the first tests of the season for the Panthers, who had cruised to easy victories at Petersen Events Center and were playing on the road for the first time against respectable programs like Texas Tech and either Houston or Stanford.
So much for that.
After scoring a career-high 23 points against Texas Tech, Lamar Patterson outdid himself by scoring 24 against Stanford.
Back to Pittsburgh and high school football, where my column concentrated on West Allegheny center Mike Ross, who overcame a serious injury to finish his career on a high note.
The next day, I watched Pitt play Duquesne in the annual City Game. Check out Duquesne beat writer Chris Harlan’s story here and Dejan Kovacevic’s column here.
Now, along the way, I had written a few stories on McKees Rocks boxer Paul Spadafora after visiting his training camp near California, Pa. For one, he added trainer Buddy McGirt to his corner a week before his WBA light welterweight title fight with Johan Perez, a fight that Spadafora knew could change his life. But Perez, a Golden Boy Promotions protégé described as an awkward fighter, stood in his way.
And the decision didn’t go Spadafora’s way, either.
Today, I will head over to the Pete to talk with the Panthers about Tuesday’s game against Penn State.
Two more weeks of juggling high school football with Pitt basketball for me, then I can concentrate on the Panthers’ inaugural basketball season in the ACC. I’m planning to give you additional coverage throughout the season on this blog, which was named in honor of Larry Merchant’s book, Ringside Seat at the Circus.
From here on out, maybe it should be called Sitting Courtside.

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Author: Kevin Gorman

Kevin Gorman is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media who covers the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, college and prep sports in an interactive, multimedia platform. His family roots to Pittsburgh run four generations deep, a story steeped in the city’s history. His ancestors worked in the steel mill and on the railroad, invented Austin’s household products and walked the beat as a city cop. A street in Oakland is named for his great-grandfather, who was a Pittsburgh Police captain. That street, as pictured, was the inspiration for the name of this blog. Gorman joined the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in August 1999, became a sports columnist in September 2009 and has won multiple Pennsylvania Newspaper Association awards for his sports columns. He has covered the Steelers in the Super Bowl and Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final, the Pirates in the Major League Baseball playoffs, as well as the MLB All-Star Game, the U.S. Open at Oakmont, the Rose, Capital One, Citrus and Sun bowls, the ACC, Big East and NCAA basketball tournaments and WPIAL and PIAA championship events. Gorman has been the beat writer for Pitt football and men’s and women’s basketball, and has covered high school sports and recruiting. He served as color analyst for FSN Pittsburgh/Root Sports for the WPIAL football and basketball championships and as guest analyst for the Trib Total Media High School Edition. A graduate of Baldwin High School and Penn State University, Gorman has worked at newspapers in Memphis, Phoenix, Dallas and Kansas City. He has a son, Kieran, and comes from a large Irish-Catholic family whose roots are in Oakland, Greenfield and Mt. Washington. Don’t be surprised if you run into one of his cousins; considering there are more than 100, be surprised if you don’t. Email kgorman@tribweb.com or follow on Twitter @KGorman_Trib.

 
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