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During one of his famous tirades against the media for what he perceived was biased and unfair coverage, Richard M. Nixon brashly announced at a rambling press conference (after he had been defeated for the position of Governor in California in the 1960s) "you won't have Nixon to kick around around anymore."
As I was traveling up to Lutheran Hospital last week to see DDD sports editor Jim Hopkins I wasn't sure about what I would encounter.
As noted in the sports highlights of Thursday's Democrat, Jim suffered a heart attack early last week. He underwent a cardiac catheterization on Tuesday and doctors have prescribed a new treatment regiment for him to assist in his recovery.
I was happy to see Jim looking well when I walked into the room. To look at him, one couldn't imagine what had happened a few days earlier. There was a vintage Jim statement at the hospital in which he noted "if I had listened to the doctor two years ago..."
In all likelihood, Jim will turn over the reigns of the sports department of the DDD to someone else. That was affirmed with one of his first statements when I walked in: "I'm done."
However Jim is not severing all of his ties. Think you'll be able to keep him away from wrestling? Not on your life. Think he won't have an opinion about football in Adams County? Right. I would certainly not presume to know exactly what his plans are but I wouldn't be surprised to see an occasional column or to see him on the field or courtside covering a game.
His days of covering a game, taking photos, coming back to office and processing all the photos, writing the story, laying out the page, and then coming back to do it all again day after day, well those days are going to cease. Most recently, Jim put in countless hours preparing the Democrat's annual fall sports tabloid.
I wouldn't want to guess the number of hours put into this effort. I wrote four or five stories and Eric Mann wrote the AC football preview, but other than that it was a Jim Hopkins production, stories, photographs, layout, the whole shootin' match.
Last year I was on the same end that Jim is right now spending a considerable amount of time in the hospital with endocarditis and seizures. I know what it's like to recuperate after a major illness/health problem. I think Jim does too, especially knowing his wife has "connections" to make sure he does.
And yes, we did have Nixon to kick around some more as in 1968 he was elected President, despite his promise. And something tells me, we'll still have Hopkins and Spaulding to kick around for a while, albeit not on the same schedule.