I pulled the folder out of the file cabinet in The Post-Journal sports department in search of a photograph.
It's been 26 years almost to the day since Jim Riggs snapped the image, but I've never forgotten it. So imagine my pleasant surprise Friday night when I found a photocopy of it in a drawer just inches from my desk.
The people in the photo - members of the 1986 Jamestown High School football team - are familiar.
In no particular order, I recognize Ned Battle, Gregg Wilson, Jim Painter and Jim Ingerson, who all played huge roles in a season in which the Red Raiders eventually claimed a Section 6 championship.
But the guy who is dominating the photo is one Shawn Bowman.
Leaping in the air, a shirtless Bowman, armed with a water bottle in his right hand, plays to the camera, a huge smile creasing his face as he leads his teammates off the field at the end of the first official practice.
The 2012 edition of the Red Raiders will begin preparation for their season on Monday, but I'm guessing there will be no similar Kodak moments when they leave Strider Field.
That's because the collective hearts of the JHS football family are heavy today because Bowman (Class of '89), the former first-team all-state lineman and the father of two sons, has died, the victim of an early Friday morning car accident in Rio, W.Va.
I first met Bowman in August 1988 when I interviewed him while sitting at a picnic table in his backyard. In those days, Bowman and teammates Mark Hilt and Phil Thompson were being heavily recruited by Division I colleges so they graciously agreed to pose for a photograph that would eventually grace the cover of The Post-Journal's preseason football edition, Gridiron.
What I quickly learned, though, was that Bowman, despite his immense size and talent - he was a Street & Smith's All-American his senior year - was hardly a ''cover boy.''
''I was really shocked when I came back to Jamestown in 1988 and found what a nice person he was and how thoughtful and courteous he was to everybody,'' said former Red Raiders assistant coach Tom Phillips. ''Even if a teammate would be teasing him, he'd never lash back. He was always such a good and thoughtful person.''
See KINDBERG, Page B2
So even though he could bench press 440 pounds in high school - still a Jamestown record - and he went on to play at Merced (Calif.) Junior College and New Mexico State University, Bowman, equal parts athlete and comedian, never changed.
''He was one of those guys who would go on the football field and wreak havoc and be a monster, but after the game he'd be in the parking lot, smiling and giving everybody hugs,'' said Jamestown athletic director Ben Drake, a 1990 JHS graduate. ''He had that way about him.''
When Drake was a freshman, he stood 5 feet, 5 inches, and weighed 110 pounds, but Bowman, who Drake described as a ''big teddy bear,'' took a liking to him.
''He gave me the nickname 'Moose,''' Drake said. ''I'd see him in the hall, he'd slap me on the back and put his big paws on my shoulders and said 'Moooooose.' He was funny.''
- - -
If you want to know how much of an impact Bowman had on people, just check out his Facebook page. Dozens and dozens of tributes have poured in since the accident, which occurred at 7:30 a.m. Friday, according to a report in the Cumberland (Md.) Times-News.
One post seemed to describe Bowman best:
''I remember only one thing from my entire year of preschool: That Shawn Bowman was in it,'' wrote one of Bowman's Facebook friends. "He had one of the most magnetic personalities of anyone I have met since. A personality that actually dwarfed his massive physical presence. To know Shawn was to love Shawn and know you were loved back. I would say God bless you, Shawn, but I am quite certain that has already been taken care of.''
Yesterday morning, JHS varsity football coach Tom Langworthy was with some of his players and broke the news that Bowman had passed away.
''We had a moment of silence for him and we tried to think about his family, his kids and everybody affected by it,'' Langworthy said. ''We'll hold him in our thoughts and prayers. He's one of us and one of the Red Raider family.''
- - -
The names and jersey numbers of the 19 Red Raider first-team all-state football players hang from the top row of the bleachers overlooking the parking lot at Strider Field.
Bowman's No. 76 hangs between No. 33 worn by Ken Johnson and No. 55 worn by Jamie Bloomquist.
''He was one of the greats as far as football goes,'' said former Red Raiders assistant coach Joe DiMaio, ''but he went way beyond that as far as being a parent who cared about his kids, and just being a great person.''
In that regard, then, Bowman could have easily exchanged his No. 76 for No. 1.
Rest in peace, Shawn.