Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah
image The children, spouse and children’s spouses of the late Eugene Butler Stucki, the great-grandfather of Sports Editor Tavin Stucki, pose for photographs at the 98-year-old’s gravesite in the Paris, Idaho, cemetery on Tuesday. (photo courtesy Tavin Stucki)

December 8, 2016
Sometimes there are things more important than sports

Being a sports writer, I get the luxury of not taking things too seriously, and doing it for a living.

I relish in watching a game without bias, agreeing with fans of either team about half the time and chuckling to myself at their partisanship when whichever team doesn’t get the call. I love unraveling the conflict and the storylines woven into every contest. I like talking with my family about this athlete from this place who just did this spectacular thing.

And while I really enjoy the distraction sports provide from the more serious things of the world, I realize sports aren’t always so happy-go-lucky.

I’ve seen a teammate’s leg get struck with a stray javelin. I was there when a kid nearly drowned in a community pool with a lifeguard present. I’ve covered the death and subsequent revival of a basketball player who had a heart attack during practice. Just last week, I saw Shaylie Davis lie on the court for nearly an hour after getting pushed in the back by a girl just trying to get the basketball back for her team.

These events show me how quickly sports take a backseat to the things that really matter in life.

I had a similar experience — albeit away from any sort of arena — when I attended my great-grandfather’s funeral Tuesday.

Eugene Butler Stucki was 98 when he died, having outlived my great-grandmother by nearly two decades before he was interred next to her on a snowy hillside in Paris, Idaho. It was 7 degrees Fahrenheit during his funeral.

Because of his old age, all of my family members had a chance to acclimate themselves to the idea of life without our patriarch. Our faith also played a large role in the happier celebration-of-life attitude as we gathered in the Paris church house.

His longevity has given me cause to ponder my own existence.

I think it’s important to fill a life with what makes a person happy. Some people find purpose in their careers or in their religion. I obviously like sports.

I wonder why grandpa lived the way he did, with a variety of careers ranging from law enforcement and politics to television repair and agriculture. I wonder how he feels about resting so close to his father and brothers. I wonder how much he missed my grandmother during his final years.

My great-grandfather valued his family, and his death made me wonder how the lives of his 38 grandchildren and 108 great-grandchildren might have been different if he spent his time on something less important.

And by extension, I wonder how my life might be affected by the decisions made by his oldest son and grandson — my grandfather and father. What would have happened if my grandfather decided not to come back and buy a dairy farm down the road from his dad’s, or if my dad hadn’t decided he’d milked his last cow in high school?

Life is short. Relatively speaking, even a 98-year lifespan isn’t all that lasting. Lives are cut shorter all the time by accident and malice.

There are so many things I could fill my life with outside the sports world. Athletics are something I think I will always enjoy and spend time around. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, provided I still pay attention to things that are a little more important.

I think grandpa would say something similar.

Tavin Stucki is a sports writer who has always had an affinity for raspberries because of his family’s Bear Lake roots. Send comments to

Tavin Stucki

Community News Editor at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Tavin Stucki is sports editor for the Tooele Transcript Bulletin. Stucki graduated with a journalism degree from Utah State University in 2014, where he worked at The Utah Statesman as staff writer, sports editor, news editor and editor-in-chief, respectively, for four years. Stucki served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Scotland from 2008-10.

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