TROY — Talking to a packed room at the La Piazza restaurant in downtown Troy, award-winning sports columnist Tom Archdeacon had the Troy Noon Optimist Club laughing — and crying — during his post-luncheon comments on Monday, June 27.
He regaled the Troy audience with stories from his days as a columnist from first the Miami (Fla.) News and for the past 31 years at the Dayton Daily News.
Throughout his career, which goes back more than 40 years, Archdeacon has rubbed elbows with the elite in sports, including the late Muhammed Ali, legendary coach Don Shula, Olympians, football, baseball and basketball stars. Many have been celebrities of events such as the Kentucky Derby, Indianapolis 500 and more. But in covering the many events for his newspapers, Archdeacon has made a living by finding the story behind the story, which has often come from people at those events who were not in the spotlight.
Because Archdeacon has been such a popular columnist and a person who could find compelling human interest stories, his newspapers have sent him to cover world events such as 9-11 at Ground Zero, the fall of communism in Russia and events as they unfolded in Cuba. At his side in Cuba and at many events such as the riots in Miami, was photographer Bill Reinke, a Troy resident and former photojournalist at the Miami News and Dayton Daily News. He was also at Monday’s meeting.
To Archdeacon, the reason his job has been so rewarding is the diversity of subjects and people he has met.
“What I have always loved about my job is it’s like opening a present on Christmas morning,” he said. “You anticipate what’s inside each package, but when you open it you find out what makes it tick … the surprises. Writing stories works the same way.”
Prior to Archdeacon’s comments, Optimist Club members were reminded they will be putting out American flags for the Fourth of July weekend. At five different holidays, the Optimists place flags at Troy residences and businesses. The money earned helps fund scholarships and other programs benefitting the young people of Troy.
The number of flags put out for this holiday weekend is up to more than 650. To subscribe, call Al Kappers at (937) 339-0511.