BG News reporter is a survivor

Two years ago, I was a sports reporter for this paper. I was scared like a little kid in the dark, and I only had to cover the golf teams. This year, working on the basketball beat, I was still scared when I had to talk to Dan Dakich (although I don’t think he knew).

So in November when I was the sports editor, I got a call from Kris Kamann, who works in the University’s media relations office and directly with hockey, and I was a bit shocked. The purpose of the call: To tell me one of my sports reporters was being a bit overzealous at the team’s post-game press conferences.

It was Will Curitore, a freshman and obviously a first-year reporter. He was asking too many questions, beating the long-established hockey guy from the Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune to asking coach Scott Paluch post-game questions.

I didn’t tell Kris, but a sense of pride overcame me. The kid was unphased by a job many reporters at the start of their careers are often scared by: talking to people, and in particular, coaches who can, at times, be a bit intimidating.

So I had a little talk with him, told him to calm down just a little bit, give the coach a minute or two to make an opening statement, let the Sentinel guy ask the first question and then go from there. He said okay.

A week later, he didn’t turn in a story on Sunday from that Friday’s game.

The next day I found out why — he had had a seizure and was at home (See page 1 for the full story).

It got worse. he seizured a second time, and it turned out he had brain cancer. Then it was nearly-lethal stomach ulcers from the cancer treatments. Will was in bad shape.

But as I, along with Bowling Green Radio Sports Organization director Andy Barch — Will’s two former “bosses” — were given details of Will’s battle, I couldn’t help but think Will would make it through. In my short experience with him, I just got a sense of him being a fighter. He was a bigger guy, probably could have beat the bejesus out of me.

He was active. He called this newsroom over the summer, asking when the first sports staff meeting was. I told him when. He was there. He was there on Sundays for our budget meetings. And he was at hockey games, doing his job like a veteran.

Will’s mother kept us in the loop. Will continued to fight the cancer and ulcers, and one day in late January, the update was overwhelming: Will was home, and in better shape.

His mother told me that nurses in University Hospital told her that one day, when she and her son returned to the hospital, he made their day. He told them they made his life.

Will didn’t do what he was supposed to.

He’s alive today, and I couldn’t be any more proud of him.