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Why I Write: NittanyFalcon (Steven Dundore)

Editor’s note: Welcome to our series for this summer. Every Thursday from June through August, one of our writers will share a bit about the journey that brought them here. The goal is to provide a way for our readers to learn more about the people behind the keyboard as well as the steps they have taken in their careers so far.

What are some interesting notes about your personal life that you care to share?

  • I’ve been a big sports fan throughout my life. My first sports love was baseball, and as a child would always do my homework while listening to the LA Dodgers on the radio. That led me to listen to all the other LA sports franchises, the Lakers, Kings, and Rams. Personally, my favorite sport to participate in was basketball, but my athleticism was pretty limited.
  • I’m a 1976 graduate of the U. S. Air Force Academy.
  • I spent nine years in the Air Force flying F-4s, F-16s, and as a T-37 instructor.
  • After separating I worked for 5 years as an engineer at Lockheed, mostly on the F-22 project.
  • I got tired of attending meetings, dealing with office politics, and writing specifications and left Lockheed to return to flying with the airlines. At the airlines, I flew A-300s, 727s, MD-80s, 737s, 757s, and 767s.
  • I retired three years ago and spend time at my home in Pennsylvania and my cabin on a lake in Minnesota.

Why do you like writing?

I don’t like writing and never have liked it. The words don’t flow out of me, and I usually have to spend time picking my words carefully. When I write an article, I’ll generally write a few paragraphs, set it down and contemplate what I’ve written for a few hours, and then repeat that process until I finish. What I do like is following Air Force sports and becoming knowledgeable about the players, coaches, and teams. The process of writing forces me to research and analyze the factors that make Academy teams competitive on the “fields of friendly strife.” It also keeps my mind active as I approach my 70th birthday.

Why do you follow college sports?

I think I grew up in the golden age of college sports. In the LA area where I lived, the Rose Bowl was the premier athletic event. O. J. Simpson was racking up yards for USC and John Wooden was winning basketball championships at UCLA by the dozen. On TV, I would watch Ohio State and Michigan every year while Bo Schembechler and Woody Hayes were in the midst of their Ten Year War.

Of particular interest to Air Force fans, in the late 60’s, the Texas Longhorns pioneered the triple-option offense, and rode it to to thirty straight wins and two national championships.

During my time at the academy, the football program was mediocre at best. The best thing that happened during my time there was the establishment of the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy.

Those down years led to the hiring of Ken Hatfield, who was an enthusiastic disciple of triple-option football. By 1982, he and Offensive Coordinator Fisher DeBerry had turned the Falcons into a perennial winner and after that, I became a real huge fan.

What led to writing for MWCConnection?

I’ve always spent quite a bit of time during the football season getting as much information as I could on Falcons football and the MWCConnection was a source that I watched. However, I felt that there weren’t any sources that gave a very good insight into the program. I didn’t want just a summary of the games and a few mentions of the top players, I wanted more depth.

When I retired from flying three years ago, I saw an article on this site asking for a writer to blog about Air Force sports. Despite my dislike of writing, I decided to give it a try to see if I could give a little more insight into the teams.

What do you like about writing for MWCConnection?

The reason I write for MWCConnection is that I get to write on my terms. I don’t feel obligated, and I get to write what I want when I want. The other writers on the site have educated me on the ins and outs of their teams and what to expect out of them. It’s made me a better fan of the entire conference.