Archived Story

Off to a new hometown

Published 10:29pm Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I started working for the Suffolk News-Herald seven years ago. I’m thankful that most of my job as sports editor for the last six years has been the “work” of going to ball games.

Long before now, I figured the Suffolk News-Herald would’ve figured out they needed a real journalist in this position, not just a sports fan who can write, usually in complete sentences, and snap one or two good photos. If not that, I thought I would’ve moved on to something else, journalism or not, before now.

The first field hockey game I watched from start to finish was one I covered at Nansemond River in September 2004.

With Darryl Yandle being remarkably helpful and patient to someone clearly in distress, I survived, and the story that wound up in the News-Herald was at least serviceable. I learned the ball has to be hit or touched inside the arc in order for it to count as a goal.

If not for Coach Yandle taking the time on what, to him, was one of the most simplistic parts about a sport he loves, I would’ve had the Lady Warriors winning something along the lines of 5-1 instead of 2-0.

Along with thanking editors and co-workers at the paper who’ve been helpful and let me make plenty of errors while growing into this job, thank you to all the coaches, officials, volunteers and kids — from T-ball players to the standouts who’ve gone from Suffolk to become major college, pro and international athletes. The smart, dedicated athletes I get to talk with and bother do the most to make being a local sports reporter exciting each day.

When playing photographer, usually less than a handful of the shots wind up seeing the light of day. No one sees the hundreds of shots I take that are total messes. It’s a good thing no one reports my batting average with a camera.

I’m headed to a position at the Sanford Herald in central North Carolina.

I’ll be back in Suffolk from time to time. I’m a Nansemond-Suffolk Academy alum, and it’ll be very nice to come back to a Saints game and just be a fan.

After seven years at Nansemond River, Lakeland, King’s Fork and First Baptist games while “working,” and being a sports fan as much or more than a journalist, I’ve developed lots of loyalty for the Warriors, Cavaliers, Bulldogs and Crusaders, too.

Sports, especially at the youth and high school levels, should bring a community together in pride. Sports is usually a healthy dose of “good news” in the middle of more serious issues a community faces. Certainly King’s Fork’s basketball title or Lakeland’s field hockey title are prime examples, but I’ve seen the same thing even in loss.

I’d heard Lakeland’s fight song only a few times until this fall. This season, Lakeland’s fight song was played repeatedly at a few of the Cavalier games, including throughout the whole third quarter of their playoff game at Norcom. I found myself absently humming it at work or in the car.

If I’m around on a Friday night and NSA’s on the road, I’ll be just as interested going to one of the other three schools to see how the Cavs, Warriors or Bulldogs are doing. Look for me on the sidelines. I won’t be carrying a camera this time.

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