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Sitting Ringside

A whirlwind week


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.




Author: Kevin Gorman

Kevin Gorman is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media who covers Western Pennsylvania prep sports in an interactive, multimedia platform. He hosts a show from 2-3 p.m. every Friday on TribLIVE Radio, does the Skylights Spotlight segment for WPXI-TV during football season and is a contributor to WPXI's The Final Word. Gorman joined the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in August 1999 and has been a sports columnist since September 2009. He won Pennsylvania Newspaper Association first-place awards for sports columns in 2011 and '12, and has covered the Super Bowl and Stanley Cup Final twice each, the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, the Rose, Citrus and Sun bowls and the Big East and NCAA basketball tournaments. Gorman spent three years as the Pitt football beat writer, two as Pitt basketball beat writer and seven years covering high school sports and recruiting. He also has served as color analyst for FSN Pittsburgh/Root Sports on the WPIAL football and basketball championships and as guest analyst for its Trib Total Media High School Edition. Gorman has worked at newspapers in Memphis, Phoenix, Dallas and Kansas City, which makes him something of an expert on barbecue and sunscreen. A graduate of Baldwin High School and Penn State University, Gorman has a son, Kieran, and comes from a large Irish-Catholic family whose roots are in 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 or follow on Twitter @KGorman_Trib.

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