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Richard Pufall

Communications Specialist and Sports Aficionado

Swinging at the right pitch

My dream of becoming a Major League catcher ended when pitchers started throwing one little thing I just couldn’t hit: the baseball.

In 1969, I conned Northland College into a football scholarship and the coaches asked me to play baseball, too. (No really, they asked).

After two forgettable years at Northland, it was time give up what I wanted to do for what I thought I could do: Communicating with words on paper. Remember them? They called them newspapers and they were all the rage.

So I transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, switched my major from business to journalism and got my butt kicked by Leslie D. Polk, my tough-as-buffalo steak editing teacher. He demanded perfection and encouraged me to pursue a career in the less-than-perfect world of newspaper journalism.

During a 41-year career I made stops in three time zones, working in six states for 13 newspapers and one international website. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (twice), the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Sun-Times, the St. Paul Pioneer Press and CBS Sportline in Fort Lauderdale. Smaller papers included the Racine Journal Times, the Patriot Ledger in Quincy, Mass., the Green Bay Press-Gazette, the Englewood (Fla.) Sun, and the Baraboo News Republic.

My newspaper career began and ended at the Daily Press in my hometown of Ashland, where I currently reside. Along the way I met, interviewed and wrote about some amazing people, both famous and virtually unknown.

And now, Kim Swisher has given me another chance to communicate with words, but not on paper. Best of all, she doesn’t seem to care that I still can’t hit a baseball.

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