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Time Out - Take A Breath
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So far, 2014 has flown by faster than Dale Jr. in the 88 car at the Daytona 500. With April in the books, we now turn our focus on summer. I want to take this opportunity to slow things down and invite you to take a “time out” and reflect on the first quarter of the year.

To me it seems like we just took down the Christmas tree and decorations. Shortly after, we made those New Year’s resolutions that lasted all of two weeks and found us saying “Maybe next year, I will stick it out.”

January 1 is always full of hope and excitement as to what the New Year will have in store for us. I had no idea that just three days later I would get the devastating news that my mom had passed away. She had been fighting diabetes for close to15 years and on Saturday, January 4 she had suffered a fatal heart attack, which was contributed to by the awful disease. Although nearly four full months have gone by, I think about her throughout my day and miss her greatly.

They say when one door closes another door opens and as fate would have it, three weeks later, my journey with The Oakdale Leader had begun. In my first column I had stressed how this is my dream job and as I sit at my desk and type this, it is still surreal to me that I have achieved my dream.

Although I grew up in Patterson, the Oakdale community has embraced me and made me feel at home in the short time that I have been here, as well as the support from everyone in the Oakdale Leader office, which has meant the world to me.

Oakdale High School sports have been exciting and I am enjoying covering them. Although I jumped in at the tail end of winter sports, I witnessed a junior bring home a wrestling national championship, which is an amazing feat considering there were so many hopefuls in his weight class.

The spring sports are almost to a close and I have enjoyed the excitement that they have brought. Each sport has captivated me, even the ones I never gave much attention to when I was in high school all those years ago. I now know that each sport takes talent, discipline and will. I learned that as I went out to each of the team’s first practices and throughout the course of the season. Track and Field was a surprise to me as each of their meets are like attending the Olympics. There is so much to see and cover that you get caught up in each of the moments. Three-time US Olympian, Suzy Powell hosted a throws clinic back in early March and it was an honor to sit down and meet her.

Two weeks ago I experienced the rowdy tradition that is the PRCA Oakdale Rodeo. I didn’t know what to expect and I embraced the two day event and loved every minute of it. My personal favorites were the bareback riding and barrel racing. The whole weekend was entertaining and I can’t wait to cover next year’s event.

After looking back on the first four months of 2014, I have endured both unimaginable lows, and incredible highs, as I am sure all of you have. We have eight months remaining in the year and I am going to slow down and soak in as much of it as possible. May I recommend that everyone take a little extra time to absorb life’s events, slow down and not to be in such a rush that you miss life’s precious moments that you will regret later in life that passed you by. I guess what I’m trying to say is: Breath, and take a “Time Out.”


Dennis D. Cruz is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. He may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.