CITIZEN STAFFERS’ MEMORIESby Tucson Citizen on May. 16, 2009, under Local
Citizen Staff Report
THE FINAL EDITION
When I arrived at the Tucson Citizen’s police press room for my first shift in December 1999, I carefully inched toward the one-room office and opened the door just enough to peek inside. I was visibly nervous; a big fish at the college paper, I was suddenly a nobody with a notepad, thrown into an internship at a professional news operation.
“Are you Dave Teibel?” I asked, my voice quivering.
The man put down a newspaper and adjusted his Coke-bottle glasses to get a closer look at me. “I am,” he curtly replied.
Knowing a bit about Teibel’s storied career in Tucson, I said “Well, it’s truly an honor to meet you, sir.”
I expected to hear “Nice to meet you, too.” That’s what normal people say.
Instead, he groaned and put his feet on the desk, opened his newspaper and proudly muttered, “Yes . . . yes it is.”
That brief conversation scared me half to death and I nearly quit on the spot. But then, somehow, we began to click.
Over the next three years, this wonderful man – part pit bull, part teddy bear – helped craft the person I’ve become today. He did the same for dozens of rookies before and after me.
Former staff member
One top memory: Arizona softball coach Mike Candrea leading Team USA to a gold medal in softball at the 2004 Olympic Games in Greece. His team dominated, not that it was a surprise in going 9-0 and outscoring opponents 51-1. What struck me, though, was his humility, poise and pride in the journey. It came just five weeks after his wife, Sue, died of a brain aneurysm while on the pre-Games tour.
I remember him in the dugout, hand on chin, taking in the team celebration on the field. Heartfelt and memorable.
“I thanked them all for the greatest moment of my life,” he said at the time. “I love this team.”
And, through it all, he didn’t get a medal. Coaches don’t get medals.
“That’s not what this is about,” he said.
Nothing in my 21 years at the Citizen has been personally more life changing than covering the Tucson International Mariachi Conference.
My first encounter with the conference showed me that this was a world-class tradition with instrumentalists and singers to rival the best orchestras and opera companies in the country.
But in time, I realized that I was watching history unfold before my eyes as Mexican-Americans recast their self-image through their culture and set sail toward a future of higher education and pride in their personal and collective accomplishments.
What seemed at first concerts and workshops became the seeds of the transformation of a people, and it was my good fortune to be there to write about that historical pivot point as it was unfolding.