Joe Reardon had a love for many things.
A few that come to mind was his family and friends, collecting and trading sports cards and the legendary band Journey.
There was also the sports of track & field and cross country, or anything running.
Since his days as a high school distance runner at Braintree High in the early 1980s to his time as a sports writer for The Patriot Ledger and the Boston Herald newspapers, that was Joe’s other love, his passion. It was one that he never wavered from in his long career as a journalist. It was also one that he did well, and with simplicity. All he needed was a pen and his trusted notebook, a laptop and, of course, the subjects of the countless stories he wrote, the athletes.
While he covered many different sports throughout his writing career in Massachusetts, no doubt track & field and cross country was his baby, particularly at the high school level. While he cared about the words he would type on his laptop, he always seemed to get greater satisfaction watching the athletes perform and then talking to them later and letting others know the stories they wanted to tell. To him, that’s what it was all about.
As a journalist myself, sharing the same love and passion as Joe for these great sports, I spent many days sitting alongside him at the Reggie Lewis Center during a track meet or standing beside him at the finish line of a cross-country race at the Wrentham Development Center or the many other venues. What I’ll always remember about my good friend, who unexpectedly passed away on Friday, is not only his dedication to the sport and his exceptional writing skills, but his kind-hearted nature. That was always evident. Joe was a friend to all. He loved being around people. He loved talking with the athletes and the coaches, the parents and the former athletes. He also loved talking with his fellow journalists like myself. I’ll miss those conversations. I truly will.
When it comes to high school track & field and cross country in the Bay State, there will be a significant void the remainder of the season and the seasons and years moving forward. Joe, you undoubtedly have made a huge impact on the many athletes and teams that you’ve covered throughout your career. That’s your legacy. That will never be forgotten. Rest in peace, my friend. You will be missed.