Dan Ryan has seen his share of great sports moments. He was there when the Arizona Diamondbacks won the 2001 World Series.
"I will never forget that spontaneous explosion of all-out emotion," said Ryan, reflecting on the seventh game at what was then Bank One Ballpark. "That stadium was bathed in white. It was so loud, and I was running around on the field with my photographer. We're doing our job; I'm sick; I've got the flu; I'm talking to (Diamondbacks pitcher) Curt Schilling; I'm talking to (Diamondbacks pitcher) Randy Johnson; (outfielder Luis Gonzalez) is crying on his wife's shoulder, and I'm watching this incredible moment of emotion. I stopped and grabbed my photographer and told him to stop: 'Take this in. We may never see this again.' We stood there, right at third base, and we just turned in a 360, and to this day, it gives me goose bumps. Arizona just won the World Series, and look at this crowd going nuts."
He remembers when the UA men's basketball team won the 1997 NCAA championship.
"I was thinking, 'These guys are on a roll. They're going to win it,'" Ryan said. "How improbable was that?"
But the opportunity to potentially experience moments like that again paled in comparison to the desire for Ryan to visit a life more normal. After a nearly two-decade stint locking down the sports desk at KVOA Channel 4, Ryan will clip on the mic one last time Dec. 22.
"It got to the point where I'm just so tired of missing Thanksgiving and Halloween and all these holidays," Ryan said. "I just want to become a human being. Maybe I'll get home at something called 6:30 at night, so I can see my wife."
A native of Albuquerque, N.M., who worked a number of years in Denver, Ryan endured a difficult adjustment period upon his arrival in Tucson, but ultimately reached the point where he could call the Old Pueblo home.
"I have had a great time here, I really have," Ryan said. "When I first got here in the spring of 1987, I took a look around and didn't know about this Sonoran Desert thing. It was all so different. At about the three-year mark, I was on Sunrise Drive looking back at the Catalinas and said to myself, 'You know, this is a pretty nice place. I think I'll stay here. This is a good place to live. This is where I want to raise my kids. I'm staying here.' That was after three years of angst."
Dec. 22 is also the final day for Tucson Citizen sports columnist Corky Simpson, who wraps up his 32-year career at the afternoon paper. In one day, Tucson will lose more than 50 years' worth of local sports coverage experience.
"I'm honored to be going out with Corky Simpson," Ryan said. "We're going to have to toss back a cold one."