I had been playing phone tag with Joshua Nantonio a few months before he caught me at my desk Wednesday afternoon.
Of course I was shocked to hear he's a fan of my work.
That's Izzy Gould Fan Club member No. 1 and counting.
Josh, it turns out, is a 17-year-old Boy Scout. He needed to talk to me for his final merit badge dealing in personal management. Josh thinks he might want to cover sports one day and swears he's obsessed with ESPN.
I went over the basic requirements for becoming a sportswriter - earn a degree, write some stories.
Josh told me he is a few checkmarks from becoming an Eagle Scout.
The talk reminded of my Cub Scout days. My father and I once worked on a Soap Box Derby car, which turned out to be the slowest on the track.
There were troop meetings in Eric Waterford's basement and the annual camping trip where we would sleep in a tent.
When I discovered girls and sports, scouts suddenly became about as cool as my clarinet.
Now I realized talking to Josh was probably the closest I'd ever get to Eagle Scout. I couldn't even earn my Weblos badge.
Josh has been a scout for seven years and had to earn 21 merit badges and volunteer a ton of time to get Eagle. He said 3 percent of Boy Scouts make it. This last merit badge took him three months to get.
Volunteer? Commitment? Three months?
I never had a chance.
Josh volunteers at an assisted living facility and helps older folks enjoy bingo. He's most proud of his Eagle project where he raised $900 to buy materials for 317 bags he helped cut and stitch together for athletes, volunteers and coaches of the National Junior Disability Championship.
There goes my ticket to heaven.
I asked Josh why he wanted to become an Eagle Scout. He said it started by wanting to "one up" his brothers. Then it became his mission.
Somehow, Josh also manages a typical high school life beyond scouts.
He plays football at River Ridge. He's in first place in his fantasy baseball league and even has a girlfriend. If all goes well he hopes Eagle Scout will help tip the scales for a college scholarship.
"We get stereotyped when we help old ladies cross the street," he said. "We will, but we have fun doing it."
And I definitely had fun helping Josh - my No. 1 fan - earn his Eagle Scout badge.
Izzy Gould can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 580-5315.
Florida Fastbreak is holding registration for its Hoopstars Fest camp for boys and girls ages 5-18. Registration is at the Sports Authority at 9560 U.S. 19 in N. Port Richey Aug. 10 and 13 from 5-9 p.m. and Aug. 11 from 10-3 p.m. The cost is $55. For more information call (727) 845-3482 or visit floridafastbreak.com.
Wesley Chapel High will host its first Wildcat Scramble Tournament Aug. 12 at noon at the Silverado Golf and Country Club. The cost is $65 per golfer or $260 per team. Contact Brittany Castro at (813) 714-4750 or Coach John Castelamare at (813) 794-8761.
- The Veterans of Foreign Wars Holiday Post 10167 will sponsor a charity tournament 1 p.m. on Sept. 30 at the Magnolia Valley Golf Club in New Port Richey with proceeds divided between the Coalition to Salute America's Heros and the Wounded Warrior Project. Registration begins at noon. Teams and individuals are welcome. A $46 donation per golfer includes greens fees, cart and a buffet dinner at VFW Holiday Post 10167. A cash prize of $1,000 will be awarded for first-, second- and third-place winners, closest to the pins, straight drive and putting contests. Contact Bob Farrell at (727) 481-3446.
- The Port Richey Rotary will hold it's first annual tournament Aug. 11 at the Beacon Woods Golf Club. The shotgun start begins at 8 a.m. Registration begins that day at 7 a.m. The cost is $50 and includes golf, food, beverages, cart and prizes. Call Joe Maceda at (727) 457-7762.
Sunlake High will host a mandatory meeting for all parents and athletes planning to participate in volleyball, swimming, cross country and golf this fall. The meeting is Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the school's media center. All participation forms will be discussed and participation fees will be collected.
Gulf High will host tryouts for girls entering grades 9-12 this fall will run from 9 to 11 a.m. Aug. 6-10 at the school. All girls need physical and participation forms. For information, call Shari Schau at 774-3300.
Registration for the 2007 CPUSA recreational season will be held Sunday from 2-5 p.m. and Aug. 18 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Land O'Lakes Recreational Center in the gym. There are several leagues based on age.
- CPUSA will host a class for anyone interested in becoming soccer referees. You must be at least 13 years old and able to run unhindered up to 40 yards. Previous experience is helpful, but not required. The class begins Aug. 11 and will be held over two weekends. Registration closes Saturday and space is limited. For details, contact Neil Frandsen at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (813) 469-6839.
- West Pasco FC will hold fall/winter recreational soccer registration at the Holiday Field concession stand Aug. 11 and 12. Saturday registration times are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sundays will be 1-4 p.m. Fee for 6-and-under players is $95, for 8-and-up it's $125. Season runs from October-February. For more details visit www.westpascofc.com.
- Hudson youth soccer is looking for players for its U14, U15 and U18 girls competitive teams. Those interested should call Chris Swezey at (727) 919-0172 or Bill Walker at (727) 505-8423. The cost for the teams is $175.
- Hudson Youth Soccer recreational registration Aug. 11 from 1-3 p.m. and Aug. 12 from 1:30-3:30 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park. The cost is $65 for children 4-15 years old. Visit www.hudsonyouthsoccer.com.
Hudson High will hold its first practice football Monday at 3 p.m., with junior varsity players scheduled to begin practice at 4 p.m. All paperwork and a $60 participation fee must be turned in at that time. Call (727) 774-4272.
- i9 Sports is accepting registrations for fall youth flag football leagues in Pasco County until Aug. 24. Leagues begin play Sept. 15. Games in West Pasco are played Saturday mornings. Games in East Pasco are Sunday afternoons. The program is for boys and girls of all skill levels, ages 5-12. For details call (727) 869-7178 or visit www.i9sports.com.
Lane Glo North will host a Single Scratch Shootout at 10 a.m. Sunday. There is a shot at a $1,000 prize and the top five bowlers will advance to the shootout. Entry fee is $45.
E-mail upcoming events to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.