Sports have been a constant in my life. As a child I grew up with a dad whose business was sports. You see, my dad is a television producer, but to me he’ll always be a cameraman. He got his start filing sporting events. Braves baseball, Falcons football and yes-even NASCAR were staples in our home.
As I got older his work transformed into telling people’s stories and more specifically athletes and coaches. We were in Knoxville; Tenn. my dad was shooting a piece about Lady Volunteers basketball coach Pat Summitt. The “talent” was a writer, Cal Fussman. Listening to Cal interview Summitt ignited something in me.
Fast forward a few years to August 2013, I was new at The Citizen and for that matter to Morgan County. Kathryn Schiliro and Nick asked if I wanted to cover some sports… YES! My first team to follow was the MCHS Spike Dogs. My first match was a doozy, a JV tournament at North Oconee. After finding a familiar face, Pete Busenitz, I was set. The volleyball season taught me the importance of talking to members of the team team. Varsity Coach Pam Hooten told me, “this isn’t about me, this is about them- they’re the ones you need to talk to.”
It’s a lesson I don’t think I’ll ever forget. My confidence grew as I tackled middle school basketball, high school swimming, and who could forget soccer. Just as I remember sitting courtside watching the Lady Vols, my dad trailing Coach Summitt, I’ll never forget the MCMS Bullpups winning their region championship. The look for the boy’s faces as they posed for photos with their trophy still brings a smile to my face. Swimming taught me a lot about this community. At their first home meet I watched as the whole team cheered on a special needs student. They stayed by her lane cheering and encouraging. Afterwards they congratulated her- proving that One Morgan is more than just an idea, it’s a lifestyle that these students live day-in-and-day-out. Soccer taught me about perseverance. The teams never let a loss get to them, instead lifting their heads and playing hard every game.
It was at a soccer game that I met Dr. Mal for the first time. Dr. Mal told me he was heading to the baseball game. Seeing a principal that cared enough to support the various teams resonated with me.
It’s been a year since I started at The Citizen. In that year I have had the privilege of following teams that play hard for each other. I’ve watched the community join together to support them. I’ve talked to parents and loved ones that back these students and the coaches that get to work with them.
Working at The Citizen, telling these students stories has reminded me of the passion for sports writing I have had since I was in high school. I’m not sure thankful really describes the feeling I have for this opportunity to continue at The Citizen. A couple of weeks ago, I graduated from the finest university in the land and just last week I watched the MCHS class of 2014 get their diplomas.
As I sat in the stands it hit me, I went from being one type of Bulldog to joining another Bulldog family.