Utica, N.Y. - A legendary sports writing career is about to come to a close as Ron Moshier, Sports Editor at the Observer-Dispatch, is set to retire on Friday.
Moshier has spent 32 years at the O-D, beginning part-time in 1988 and becoming a full-time writer one year following. He was named Sports Editor in 2017.
He grew up in Richfield Springs where he was a captain for the Indians' varsity football, baseball and basketball teams.
Following his high school career, he attended SUNY Cortland where he majored in physical education and minored in journalism, originally wanting to teach and coach.
However, while at school, his focused changed.
"I loved writing about sports," said Moshier. "Instead of going student teaching, I did an internship at the Cortland Standard newspaper and landed back home. It's been a great ride, it's been a great game."
While at Cortland, Moshier was the Editor for the school newspaper and following graduation, worked several years at the Cortland Standard before returning to his home area and beginning what would be a long career at the Observer-Dispatch.
"I never dreamt it would last this long because I never thought about it," he said. "I never thought about it ending. It was like a baseball game, there was no time limit. The goal was always set for me, the next game, the next season."
When Moshier first came to the O-D, he was under the tutelage of sports writer John Pitarresi and then-Sports Editor, Les Diven.
"I had great people to learn from," Moshier said. "[Les Diven] was my mentor. He taught me the ropes, the nuts and bolts. He was a 'get the facts' guy."
Now, as he hands over the future of the paper's sports department, he said that he hopes he left and impact on his staff like Diven did for him.
"Without Ben [Birnell], Marquel [Slaughter], and James [McClendon], these past couple of years being the Sports Editor would have been very difficult," he said. "They've made it doable. It's in good hands."
While sports have always been Moshier's passion, he said that getting the chance to interact with so many athletes and coaches over the years has made the journey truly special.
"As much as I love sports, it's been more about the people and what sports has meant to them," he said. "I really, really tried to be as fair and unbiased as possible and I tried to let a Mike Zalewski tell the story, not me. I tried to let a Will Smith tell the story, not me. I just pieced it together. They did the work."
As he reflects on his long career, he looks back fondly and is appreciative for all of the opportunities his job has given him.
"I've been lucky, oh my gosh," he said. "Covering Olympians like an Erin Hamlin, state championships, New Hartford, Clinton, Whitesboro hockey. I got to go along for the ride, win or lose, and I tried as best I could to set the scene with the time and space allowed."
Moshier has spent so much time and effort into sharing the stories of those in our area, he never stopped to think about the impact that his storytelling has had on the people who read them.
"A lot of what I've done over the last 35 years, I, for a long time wrote it off as scrapbook material," he said. "But the last few days, the emails I have gotten from people, people I don't even know, that's made it all worth while, those Friday and Saturday nights."
Over the years, Moshier has become a staple within the community. For him, being able to highlight those within the community has driven him even when deadlines and time constraints made things difficult.
"I know I could have gone on maybe to a bigger market, but this was home," Moshier said. "It wasn't just about the winners. It's corny, but it was about playing the game, about being a part of it
We don't all win the Boilermaker, but it's all about being a part of it."
As he gets ready to turn the page to a new chapter, he said that he isn't sure what the future holds, but that he is looking forward to experiencing it.
"I told [my wife] Monica, people keep asking me now, 'Ron what are you going to do now?,'" Moshier said. "And she just said to tell them one word, live. That's what I'm going to do."
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