The news of today's sudden death of Paducah Sun Sports writer Joey Fosko was shocking. Both on a personal and professional level.
Professionally, there weren't many people who attacked his job with the passion Joey did. He was constantly on the road, covering several teams - not just one team as is the case with most media outlets. Ask Joe Wilson at the Kentucky New Era or Mike Stunson at the Madisonville Messenger how hard it is to create a sports page that doesn't favor one local team over the other.
Joey always told it like it was -- and sometimes people don't like that. But he was always fair.
I liked to tap into his knowledge of western Kentucky sports. He remembered key plays from key games. He remembered the paths those teams took. And he remembered the names of players and coaches. He was a key asset each week on my football pregame show - The Blitz.
Joey could cover a 45-0 football game and still made you want to read the game recap. I was envious of how he always seemed to approach a game story with the perfect angle -- that hook in the first few sentences that makes you read the entire story.
He never took pictures at the games he covered. He once told me it was easier for him to paint a picture with his words than it was to miss a play because he was focusing on using a camera.
And that he did. For nearly 26 years, his stories were a fixture on the sports pages of the Paducah Sun.
Personally, Joey was a friend. We covered many of the same sporting events. We traded knowledge and statistics. We were both Cubs fans. And we both shared a love for high school sports.
Joey was a Lone Oak graduate. It's ironic that he passed away just weeks after Lone Oak closed to consolidate into the new McCracken County High School. Maybe the folks at the new school will do the right thing and name the pressbox at the new school after Joey. He sure would have made it his second home during football season.
The loss of Joey Fosko leaves a huge void in sports coverage in western Kentucky. It also leaves a huge void in the many friendships he made through the years -- including this one.
(Richard Wright photo)