Brandon's final column for the Herald-Dispatch

It has been a little over two years since I took the position of sports writer for the Herald-Dispatch. I look back and reflect on many different opportunities I have had in that time, as well as covering many talented local athletes. This past week I made the decision that I will be moving on.

In the light of COVID-19, I lost my spring sports season and a little over half of my summer season. In addition to football and volleyball being cut, I also am foreshadowing a quiet winter as well. I will still be heavily involved in sports around town and you will continue to see me at games coaching and spectating.

As I write my last column on August 24, the month and date match up with Kobe Bryant’s two numbers. 8/24. A day after what would have been his 42nd birthday, a celebration of his life was honored and dubbed “Mamba Day,” honoring his “Mamba Mentality.”

In Los Angeles and Orange County in California, it was named Kobe Bryant Day. I have spent the past few days researching Kobe’s personality, his off the court prowess and the way he competed day in and day out.

We can apply a lot of this to our lives, whether we are a professional athlete or not. Kobe always worked to be better than yesterday. A little better every day adds up to being a lot better, forever. Whether that is being a better player, a better coach, better leader, or a better person. If you want to be better, start today.

Kobe and his Mamba Mentality was “a constant quest to try to be better today than you were yesterday.” He defined passion as devoting yourself to a goal through commitment and dedication. It was his cornerstone. You cannot be successful if you do not have passion. Inspire others, push boundaries, be upset when you lose, dig into your soul for that competitive spirit to come out and fuel your passion.

Kobe was an inspiring basketball player and icon off the court. The way he inspired his daughter and her teammates was truly admirable. At the end of the day, he was a father and a husband, a teacher, competitor, and winner. The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do.

I am all about first impressions, but I hope one thing I can do is give you a lasting impression. I enjoyed my time as a sports writer here in Sleepy Eye, but I want to close out with another favorite quote of mine and hope you live by it each day: Enjoy life, life is too short to be bogged down or be discouraged, you have to keep moving forward, one foot in front of the other, smile and keep on rolling.