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Folsom Telegraph

Our Bulldog pride barks loud

By: Bill Sullivan, Associate Publisher
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By the end of the fourth quarter Friday night at Prairie City Stadium, I could barely feel my feet because it had gotten so cold. My day had started abruptly at 6 a.m. to cover a large structure fire, so needless to say, I was exhausted. But I am not complaining.

Sure, I could have chosen to go home at 5 p.m., and we could have hired someone to shoot the game but I made the decision not to and for a good reason. Despite the exhaustion from a busy day and a busy week, I would have dragged myself into that stadium Friday night to cover our local boys in blue make their way to another state title game. Secondly, any leader at a community newspaper, in any town should be present at community events like this. Camera or no camera, community engagement is part of the role.

As I have said many times before, when it comes to a community newspaper and local sports, the two go hand in hand. While many newspapers today are making some not-so-smart choices of offering less prep sports coverage to cutting costs, this one is not and never intends to do so. We value our local sports teams; we understand their place in our community; and we pride ourselves on providing the best coverage in the region.

Although Folsom is a city that is getting bigger each day, we still have so much “hometown” pride among us that will never go away, and it’s our job to bring coverage of such to our readers. I don’t care if I need to work 15-hour days to be a part of the community and bring you the local news you deserve and the members of my staff and my superiors, all the way up to our publisher, Tom Kirk, will be right there with me to do it. Simply put, we care about the community.

When it comes to the Folsom Bulldogs, covering a game is far from a chore. To be in the midst of the magic that is in the air at every single home game in Folsom is truly special. It’s about tradition, it’s about hard work, and it’s about pride that makes those cool crisp Friday nights so great in our city. In the stands, you will find many that don’t even have school-aged kids any longer. You will often find your city council members, our mayor, fire chief and others among the crowd. It’s what happens in a prideful community that cares.

Tomorrow night, Coach Kris Richardson and his talented team will march into Hornet Stadium at Sacramento State University to carry the pride of our city into a state title match up. Win or lose, this man and his entire team have done another outstanding job representing our city and keeping that “Bulldog pride” alive and well.

Three years ago, I had only heard of Richardson and his success. I read about him in the Telegraph many times, because, well, after all that is where you will find the best local news. I had seen him on television many times. I heard about his talents as a coach, but I hadn’t had the chance to see him first hand.

Having the opportunity to shoot many Folsom games these last few seasons, I finally got the opportunity to see this amazing leader and his staff work their magic with our youth. His pride in his community is apparent in his work. He has great respect for all of his players, all of his coaches and, yes, even the referees. In a few simple worlds, Coach Richardson is a class act – he is focused and he is stern, yet fair. As a city, we are very lucky to have him.

By all means, a high school football coach is not paid a lavish salary and the hours are endless. That’s where the true heart of a leader comes in and it goes well beyond himself. His wife, Kelly, and his family are also an asset to our community as they sacrifice so much of their own time to pour their heart and souls into something we love and enjoy in our city – a city that they have also put on the map when it comes to football.

When the celebration settled Friday night, it was an honor to shake Coach Richardson’s hand and congratulate him as he headed off the field. Heaven knows a coach doesn’t hear those words as much as they should for the contributions they make. Leaders like Richardson are mentors for our youth, far beyond the roster and the playbook.

On behalf of the Folsom Telegraph’s entire staff, I thank Kris Richardson and his family for all they do. We wish his Folsom Bulldogs the very best heading into Friday’s big game. Regardless of the outcome, you make Folsom very proud.

Bill Sullivan is the Associate Publisher of Gold Country Media and the General Manager of the Folsom Telegraph. He can be reached at bills@goldcountrymedia.com.