Saturday night, I was sitting at my broadcast location at Norwell’s gym, getting ready to launch my 33rd season of girls basketball coverage on the radio here in Warsaw.

I was in an upper corner of The Castle, and I noticed something in the Lady Knights’ stats that I hadn’t noticed before.

I turned to my right to point it out to my long-time broadcast partner Rob Reneker, but before I could get the first word out, I realized that he wasn’t there.

It was a harsh reality that I knew was coming but wasn’t ready for.

I am not sure I ever was going to be ready.

In the middle of the summer, my cell phone rang—it was my friend Rob. He was calling to tell me that when the school year was over in June, he and his wife would be moving to California to be closer to their children.

Of course, my brain fired up its coping mechanism and I said “that’s gonna be a really long commute for Tiger Football games!”

He chuckled, but didn’t respond in words.

He didn't have to.

He was calling to tell me that the football season that wrapped up last Friday would be his last on the radio.

After we had hung up the phone, I took a big deep breath and tried to grasp the fact that this wasn’t the end of the road, but I could see the end from where I was standing.

It was time to refocus on the task at hand, which at that moment was putting a new bobber on my son’s fishing pole.

Flash forward to Friday.

As the final seconds of the Tiger season ticked away, I looked to my right and there was the guy who I had been broadcasting Warsaw football and girls basketball games with for the last two decades. He was doing his job, like always—charting stats and looking for his sheet of paper to write down the game’s final stats to share during the postgame show.

A terrific run on the radio was ending.

The “Reneker” name is synonymous with class, integrity and quality. Rob’s parents instilled that in their children, and Rob has been the personification of that.

He has spent most of his adult life working with young people, and it wasn’t always fun. He’s worked with the hard kids—some of the hardest. The ones who were in trouble a lot. The ones who tried but struggled in school and those who didn’t always try that hard in the classroom.

He cared more, even when it may have felt like no one else did.

That’s who Rob Reneker is.

Even though he never said it, it must have been a relief to him to cover football and basketball games and to watch and talk about kids on the other side of the spectrum.

But now, after all those years and all those kids, he’s taking his wife to where the sunsets are spectacular every single evening all year long.

He deserves that. They both do.

They have given and given and given some more—until it hurt. It’s time for them to enjoy their lives and the family that they will be reuniting with there.

What a pair we have been.

I am emotional. He’s been an anchor.

I am intense. He’s been cool.

I get flustered. He’s been unshakable.

I was spicy. He’s been sweet.

And for 20 years, it worked on the radio…spectacularly.

Rob will be honored at Thursday night’s Warsaw Girls Basketball game against Tippecanoe Valley for his years of service in all of the many ways that he has served—as an alumnus, as an athlete, as a coach and as a broadcaster.

He deserves that too.

He’s a godly man who enjoyed talking about his Bible study group and what they were studying on the way home from games as much as he did talking about what he saw on the opponents’ film on the ride to the game.

I’ll miss that. I’ll miss all of that.

We all will.

On behalf of a grateful community, thank you Rob and Christine Reneker. May those in the community where you will be living appreciate you and the God-infused blessing they are about to get in the same way as all of us have here in the community

 where you have been.