Arena Sportsnet

By Michael Hogg
Attica, Indiana

Normally, I write about games and every once in a while will do a feature on a player that is doing well at the High School or College Level. Well tonight, that is going to be different as I will be writing about one of the people I consider my Mentor who got me into the business.

That person’s name is Jeff Washburn, and on Wednesday, Jeff lost his fight with esophageal cancer at the age of 63. Jeff first got started writing when he went to Purdue for the Lafayette Journal and Courier back in 1972. After he graduated from Purdue in 1976 he was hired on full-time to the paper and covered both Lafayette Area High School sports and Purdue Football up to a few years ago when he took a job with the AP and writing for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.

The reason, why I feel I should do this is because I was a lonely High School Senior in 1989 when I decided to talk to Jeff when he was covering a Lafayette Jeff Harrison game and I told him that I would like to do some writing and he told me about an opportunity in Attica, and that I should pursue it and I did. As they say, the rest is History! So I started writing for the Star Tribune and now it is called the Fountain County Neighbor. I did that for 4 years of which I did except for when I was in the Army on active duty.

One of the things that Jeff told me one time whatever I do always treat the people you interview with respect and dignity as it is their time that your spending with listening to them telling you a story. However, you have to remember that you have to make sure that STRIVE to get the facts and details of the story right. I do have to say that there are times that I’m sure that I had him frustrated with me and who wasn’t with me as I was in my early 20s then and now in my mid-40s.  But I will always remember everything he has told me some 28 years later and that is be precise but respectful with the people you work with and around along with the people you cover.

Jeff, I have to say that it is my extreme honor and privilege to have got to know you for almost 30 years and I’m going to miss you but I will treasure the times that I have been with you covering big games whether it was High School, Purdue Games and or the Colt World Series of which I’m sure sadly disappointed Jeff, as it will not be in Lafayette next year.  To Cheryl and their son Jade who is following his Dad’s footsteps as a writer for AP.

Jeff, I know that I’m not as good a writer or author you are and I hope that I will be someday, but thank you for being there for me when I needed you. I do have to say that if God needs a story or a book written he has the perfect author now. RIP Jeff, I miss you.




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