The Final Final Word
Sadly, The New Regime’s time as Vikings is coming to a close as we prepare to embark on a new chapter in life. As we prepare to say goodbye, we also get to look back at the memories and events that defined our high school experience. We hope our articles have brought you joy over our years spent together, and we hope this reflection will provide guidance for the next generation of Vikings to reign in our wake.
April 2, 2020
High School Forever: A Kevin Cullen Breakup Letter
Dear Paly Athletics,
I write this with a heavy heart. The time has come for me to move on to the next chapter in my life. Trust me when I say that it’s not you, it’s me. You will forever hold a place in my heart, but we just aren’t the people we used to be… when we first met I was a tiny freshman, standing 5’8, 133 lbs, staring wide-eyed at four years ahead of me. And you were a vulnerable program, attempting to get back to the glory days of your past. Now you stand as a power house in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League, and I look down on my old self. Sure, my progression both physically and mentally is mostly thanks to my time with you, but you sure did make me work for it. I sweat, bled, and cried for you. I sacrificed for you. I bear scars from my time with you, but it is the losses that cut deepest. What did you ever do for me? I mean I guess you gave me some of my greatest memories, introduced me to a second family that was often as close as my own, and the pride of competing in front of the Viking faithful fanbase. You gave me glory and purpose, an opportunity to play at the next level, and the ability to better myself. You gave me a personal connection to my community and accepted me into the ranks of the Vikings. You completed my high school career. Come to think of it, why would I ever leave you? Time to ponder a fifth year…
I can’t express in words the amount of gratitude for everyone that was a part of my athletic career here at Paly (special thanks to Coach Gifford and Coach Detrich along with everyone else on the football staff). My experience with Paly Athletics truly has been some of the highlights of my life, let alone high school. The only thing I regret over these past years within the sports program is that I couldn’t spend more of my time within the Paly sports community. I would trade anything for the chance to be back in the shoes of my freshman self. I hope these words reside with those athletes that still have time left to give to the Paly community. Don’t take your time for granted, cherish the opportunity that is given to you and make the most of it. Now an ode of gratitude to my fellow Viking Magazine staff members and readers. I thank you for giving me the chance to take a step back from my own experience in athletics and celebrate my peers. I will forever bleed green and white, I will always be a Viking.
The Old School Way: A Sam Cleasby Memoir
My time as a Viking has been an experience that I will always be grateful for, due to both sports and writing for this supreme publication. Coming into this school as an absolute physical specimen clocking in at 5’9 and 140lbs, I joined the football team with aspirations to one day make it to the MLB. Due to off-season workouts I was immediately introduced to an array of older Paly students that I had never met before, which helped me quickly assimilate to the new community. This aspect of sports, joining a team that is more like a family than anything else, is what always kept me drawn to athletics.
Both freshman football and JV baseball are what I consider to be the golden years of my high school athletic career. I was capable of finding another family and making friends that I never would have made if it weren’t for these teams. Not only that, but they quickly began shaping me as a person, especially after meeting my JV baseball pitching coach Dick Held, the wisest person that I have ever met. Spending more time with my teammates and coaches than my family on a daily basis, I observed those who I was surrounded by and looked up to those who carried themselves as leaders. Being a young freshman, this played a major role in the development of my character.
The golden age of my career extended into sophomore year, where I played wide receiver under the prestigious coach Luis Valdez on JV football, and fellow Head Columnist Kevin Cullen was hucking the ball with precision. I continued to have the time of my life being an average athlete until later in the season in a game against Saratoga when I broke my leg while scoring a touchdown (I swear it wasn’t on the celebration). To make matters worse, immediately following the recovery of my leg, I hurt my elbow forcing me to the bench for the majority of the baseball season. Guess I peaked as a freshman.
Junior year I ended up not playing football and decided to focus on baseball – as it turns out, that extra preparation didn’t help a whole lot. My junior season as a pitcher on varsity baseball was a solid bust, and I came to the realization that I am no Bortolo Colon. However, I had the opportunity to join this legendary publication and continue to express my love for sports through journalism.
The Viking Sports Magazine has provided me with numerous memorable experiences and will always be one of my favorite communities. Getting to write an array of sports articles and bonding with my fellow staff members has provided me with an abundance of memories that I will always have to look back on.
Although I am no longer an athlete, and never really was much of one, my experience with Paly athletics and this magazine helped define who I am today, and for that I’d like to thank everyone who helped make those experiences happen. Palo Alto High School, it’s been a hell of a ride! Gone but never forgotten… The New Regime.