An Editorial By Bruce Karnick [email protected] The Hastings High School Alumni Association hosts a yearly class reunion event for all classes. As part of that class reunion, they cycle through …
An Editorial By Bruce Karnick
The Hastings High School Alumni Association hosts a yearly class reunion event for all classes. As part of that class reunion, they cycle through years of classes to focus on. This year, they will be honoring all who represent classes that end in the years of ‘1 and ‘6 along with other awards.
On October 3, The Alumni Association gives a substantial scholarship to a grad whose parent(s) or grandparent(s) is an HHS grad from the past. There are also scholarships given to students who might not be able to afford yearbooks. The association also remembers alums and classes who are no longer part of the fabric of the HHS history, and they honor an “Distinguished Alumni of the Year”.
The “Distinguished Alumni of the Year” is an HHS grad that has given back to the school/community. The 2021 Distinguished Alumni of the Year is the Voice of Raider sports, 1999 HHS Grad Nick Tuckner. Tuckner has been the Voice of the Raiders for nearly 20 years on KDWA radio and collaborative efforts with HCTV.
Tuckner doesn’t just talk about Raider sports on the radio, he was a Raider too. Soccer, hockey, and baseball all through school. He even gave golf a whirl in ninth grade.
An interesting piece of Hastings is the local media that we are lucky to have. Before I took the position here at the Journal, I talked to Tuck about being in local media. He was clear about it being one of the most rewarding jobs to have but it’s an emotional roller coaster because when you love the work you do, when you love the kids and coaches like family, you become emotionally involved. Raider losses hurt, Raider victories excite, coaches become friends, high school students inspire and bring hope.
In the world of hometown media, you get to know the athletes, coaches, and staff off the field of competition. These kids get to know you too, it is the most rewarding part of the job. It is also the reason he does the job and the advice he gave me before becoming a reporter. I’m paraphrasing from a conversation over a year ago, but I remember him telling me, ‘If you do it for the right reasons, do it for the awesome kids we have in this community, you’ll never lose.’ Doing right by the kids equates to doing right by their families, that leads to doing right by the school which then leads to great stories.
Bleeding blue and gold and wearing your sports loving heart on your sleeve is just part of the DNA of a local sports coverage. It’s clear that Tuck has that piece down. Off the air, he also has the humility piece down.
I went to Tuck after the big Raiders win at Todd Field over Apple Valley to find out what he had to say about the award. “I’d like to give it to somebody that does something that’s like, a hero or… I just yell at a microphone, and you know, it’s just, it’s so weird. But like I told Mike [Slavik], I mean, I’ll, I’ll accept it… I’m going to accept it. But I’m accepting it on behalf of everybody who deserves it. And that’s all I’ll say. I mean that right. I’ll humbly accept it. But I can’t accept it for me because it belongs with people that are real heroes.”
People that do not know Nick Tuckner away from the radio do not truly understand the humble nature of this guy. Yes, on the radio, he is excitable, loud, and he loves his Raiders. His job is to help you feel what he feels during the course of the game, the ups the downs, the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat. He is darn good at it too. But to some that equates to a braggadocios personality all the time, which is not the case. He does not do what he does to get awards, or to bring the attention to him, he makes it personal to engage the listener and, because it is personal.
When I asked Nick for a real quote, to express what this means to him, the guy that seemingly never stops talking was at a loss for words. “Without a doubt [it being cool to get an award]. I mean, I don’t think cool is the word. It’s humbling, shocking. I can use all the adjectives in the world to describe what it means to me. But when you get an award, it’s cool. But like when it says Raider on it, too. I mean, that makes it… that makes it… I mean, it’s like, it’s like… You get an award from the people that you love more than anything than what you’re doing and what you’ve done with your life outside of school is you’re making an impact.”
Photo Courtesy if HCTV Tuck does make an impact; you can see it when he arrives at the venue for the sport he is covering. Students, adults, they all know Tuck and they all say hi. He is right there beside them shoveling Todd Field to prepare for a football game after a snowstorm. He’s in the stands cheering on the Raiders when an away school has an exclusivity contract, and he cannot broadcast. Tuck is a great guy, and despite him thinking there are other, more deserving folks than him because all he does is “yell in a microphone”, he does more than that. He tells the stories of our amazing community, a community that he loves, a community that he serves. Yes, he is the Sports Director of a tiny little radio station in small town Hastings, but he’s our Tuck and it is difficult to imagine what live Raider sports would sound like without him.
I know I will never be Nick Tuckner, I’m cool with that, but I hope to represent Raider sports in writing the way he does on the air waves. I hope that I have the longevity that Nick Tuckner has had in the sports community here in Hastings. I am thankful for his influence on me for the near decade I have known him. I am thankful I have a guy like Nick Tuckner who understands our coverage of Hastings sports is not about us, but the kids, and I couldn’t be more proud to call Nick Tuckner my friend.
So, Tuck, stop it, you absolutely deserve this award my friend. Congratulations!
If you would like to attend the event on October 3, you will need a ticket. For more information or tickets to the event, please call (651) 271-2821.
Nick Tuckner is the 2021 recipient of the Hastings High School Alumni Association’s ‘Distinguished Alumni of the Year’ award. Here, Tuckner is being his goofy self during an HCTV broadcast of a Volleyball game at HHS.