I only met Luke Davis once.
We were both at Pusch Ridge on the final Friday of the season, which was also the football team's Homecoming night. The game itself was rather anti-climactic, as the Lions defeated a junior varsity squad filling in for a team that had forfeited.
But it was an opportunity for me to get to know Luke, my fellow sports-writing colleague with The Explorer.
You might wonder what a person can learn about another through their first encounter. A lot of times one gets a wrong read or a misleading on, because people can tend to be superficial the first time around.
But it wasn't that way with Luke. Everything I've heard and read about him since his tragic death fits the person I met that night for the two hours we shared the same sideline.
We talked about sports, life and frustrations. By his maturity and the way he carried himself, I assumed him to be a man of 35 to 40 years old. I was wrong. He was only 30. It wasn't until I discussed old sports stories from my years of growing up that I realized Luke was younger than I thought. He had a look of confusion on his face, and then I realized that it was me who was "showing my age" at 47.
Luke was very friendly, and nice. Sorry if that's redundant. The way we talked on the sidelines about things like high school football in Oro Valley, Marana and Tucson, it felt like we'd been doing this together for a few years.
I came away with a very high opinion of him and looked forward to meeting with him to discuss our collective goals for the winter sports seasons.
To get all this out of a first meeting showed how genuine Luke Davis was. He didn't try to impress me. He didn't try to argue with me (like some writers do). He was just being himself. It appears this is the same way that his long-time co-workers saw him, too.
I've worked as a freelance sports writer for 10 years in three states. I've walked the sidelines with other sports reporters and read their stories. I'm not easily impressed by them, because a lot of them are mere sports reporters. Nothing but the facts.
I liked reading Luke's stuff because he had exciting leads and he wasn't just a reporter. He was an observer. He would notice non-cliche things and write about them in his stories. That's what helps to make a sports story come alive.
It saddens me that I'll never get to read another Luke Davis story on CDO's unbeaten football team. As an alum of CDO, he must've been having the time of his life on Friday nights at CDO this year.
Sadly, if the top-seeded Dorados win the state championship, the man who would best be able to write about the big moment, and give it the glory it deserves, will not be the one who gets to report it.
Luke, you lived a short life, but you left a lasting impression with this sports reporter, as you reminded me of the energy, the beauty, and the excitement of reporting high school sports.