Alumni: Rich Maclone

Being a sports journalist might be covering an everyday game, or it might be covering the story of a lifetime. Rich Maclone has been writing sports stories since he started writing for the Liberty Champion in the 90s. 

Maclone said he covered a story close to Christmas in 2017 that reshaped his life. Two high school ice hockey players were in a fatal car accident that shook the town of Falmouth, Massachusetts, to its core. He was the journalist, the one who gave people words when they could not say their own. He talked to the family, cried with the hurting and found a way to bring a smile to his neighbors.

Maclone knew these boys personally, as he has and still does cover high school sports for the Falmouth Enterprise paper, which is located in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He said it is still the hardest story he has ever covered.

Maclone said the article reminded people of the energetic, fun and impactful lives the boys lived. Maclone included real-life interview experiences he had with the boys, which helped the town read about their goofiness, amid tragedy. 

The story was “emotionally taxing” for Maclone, but in the end, it inspired him to write a book about the event. 

“I am not trying to just tell a sad story,” Maclone said. “I am trying to celebrate what athletics can do, how they can bring people together and how good can come from bad.”

Maclone has been dreaming of the day he could walk into Barnes & Noble and see a book on the shelf with his name on it and this event was the beginning of his author career. 

Although this tragedy inspired Maclone to start a powerful project, there has been quite a bit of hardship in his life the last few years. Maclone’s daughter broke her foot dancing around Christmas of 2016 and his son broke his arm in September of 2016. Lyra, his wife and college sweetheart, was diagnosed with cancer around Valentine’s Day in 2017. 

Maclone has been striving to stay positive, especially because his family needs it.

His daughter has healed from her dancing injury. She is an Irish dancer, an activity in which stress fractures are common.

His son went through four surgeries in a two-week period. The Boston Children’s Hospital released him with 12-inch plates in his arm and about 18 titanium screws. Until January 2018, his son had to go back and forth to the hospital for checkups and the removal of the metal in his arm. Now, his son is considering joining the high school track team in the spring and is doing amazing in his academics.

“He is mentally strong, and he has come a long way,” Maclone said. “He has not let his school work slip. He is doing junior level work, and he is a sophomore.”

Lyra is doing better now, and she is making great progress. Maclone said he knows they are not “out of the woods,” but many people do “have it so much worse.”  

“She is getting healthy. Her prognosis is really good right now, so all that is great,” Maclone said. 

Maclone began making jokes to his family, saying he was going to “wrap himself in bubble wrap.”

Amidst the stress of health problems in his family, he has found an escape by writing his book. It gives him the chance to focus less on the stress problems in his family and more on how to find joy in the presence of grief. His experience at Liberty taught him how to construct stories, which he has found useful. 

Maclone loved his time working at the Champion, but mostly because he is still in contact with the staff today. He keeps in touch with his “family” from college.  

“All of the people I worked with are so important to me,” Maclone said. “Since we graduated 20 years ago, I have seen them so little, but they all mean so much to me.”

Deborah Huff, the Liberty Champion faculty advisor, is still one of Maclone’s “favorite people in the world.” He refers to her as his “second mom.” Maclone frequently communicates with her to pray for his personal matters, especially his family. 

Rich and Lyra Maclone

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