Gregg SarraHigh School Sports Editorgregg.firstname.lastname@example.org
I started writing about sports when I was 10 years old, and I haven’t stopped since. My passion and enthusiasm for sports writing remain as strong now as they were then. I still enjoy seeing my byline and having the opportunity to tell the stories of Long Island’s high school athletes.
As an athlete myself, I learned at a young age how meaningful it was to have my name appear in the pages of Newsday. I played baseball, football and was on the bowling team at Newfield High School back in the ’70s. I then went on to play baseball at Dowling College.
I love the excitement of high school sports, and I love telling stories.
I also learned another valuable lesson back then that I have carried with me throughout my 38-year career at Newsday – spell people’s names right!
Believe it or not, it’s not as easy as you may think. My name, a little tricky but not difficult to spell, appeared in Newsday nine different ways over my high school and college career. Nine!
I threw a no-hitter against Patchogue-Medford in high school and it appeared as George Sarra in the paper. That’s my dad. One time, I threw a touchdown pass and one of my teammates got the credit. I hit two home runs in a game for Dowling, and they misspelled both my first and last name.
It was so frustrating that my girlfriend at the time, Katherine (my wife for the past 34 years), wrote a letter to the sports editor to complain about the errors and misspellings.
When I joined Newsday in 1985, I made it my mission to strive for accuracy and to spell every athlete’s name right. While I can’t say we’re perfect, I can tell you it’s not for a lack of effort.
I love the excitement of high school sports, and I love telling stories. My favorite stories are the ones about athletes who have overcome incredible adversity, the people who don’t let anything get between them and their dreams. A few have stood out over the years.
One of the most inspirational stories was that of East Islip wrestler Rohan Murphy, who had no legs and reached the Suffolk County championship in 2001. He went on to wrestle at Penn State and is now a motivational speaker. Another is the story of Copiague High School’s Amaya Williams, who played varsity basketball with two prosthetic limbs. Also, the story of the incredible bond between twin brothers Joey and Johnny Tardif, who were born seconds apart. Johnny was born a quadriplegic, and Joey became a high school baseball star who always took care of his brother.
Just last year, I was able to tell the story of Long Beach wrestler Dunia Sibomana, who was disfigured in a chimpanzee attack in the Congo as a child. He came to Long Island and would go on to win the New York State wrestling championship. What a story. I look forward to writing more about Dunia in the future.
I’m proud of those inspirational stories, and they still bring a tear to my eye when I think about the trust each of those people showed in me.