A very fond farewell

Published 7:59 pm Saturday, April 23, 2016

This weekend marks my last as the Suffolk News-Herald sports reporter. It has been my privilege to serve in this part-time position since August 2012 when editor Res Spears promoted me from freelancer to staff writer.

In mid-March, I was offered a full-time sports editor position at our sister paper, The Farmville Herald. After a visit, some thought and prayer, I decided to take the job.

There has been much to enjoy about being the sports reporter here in Suffolk, a place I have called home since my dad’s job moved me and the rest of my family out here from California in 1994.

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I had the opportunity to do more than I ever would have thought possible as the sports reporter of a local community paper, and I formed many great relationships with the talented coaches in the city.

Early on, I was struck by how much my life was impacted by the achievements of our city’s student-athletes. Their talent took them places and me along with them. If you will forgive the pun that some might find painful, I enjoyed being able to “write” on their coattails.

Because of the hard work and dedication of baseball star Josh Henderson, who played for the school now known as Suffolk Christian Academy, I was able to interview Major League Baseball scouts and tell the story of young man who was drafted by the L.A. Dodgers.

Because Summer Parker, Kristen Vick, Alexis and Jamee Albright and so many others were coachable, I was able to write about how Tara Worley continued to build an incredible field hockey legacy at Lakeland High School that Cortney Parker is continuing now.

Because Kaylor Nash, Caylin Harris, Brooks Gillerlain and company bought into what coach Robyn Ross was building with the Nansemond-Suffolk Academy girls’ volleyball program, I was able to write about a state championship-winning team.

I’m grateful that I’ve also been able to write about others since then.

Because Sugar Rodgers was able to thrive amidst a bittersweet life, I was able to write about a WNBA player who emerged as a star under the lights of Madison Square Garden.

Because of Brandeé Johnson and her teammates’ commitment reach the high bar set by coach Justin Byron, I was able to write about national champions and Nansemond River’s track and field program becoming a national brand.

I will miss long conversations about sports with coaches like Ed Young, Joe Jones, Justin Byron and Gabe Rogers.

Lastly, I want to thank every single coach, parent, photographer and student-athlete for their efforts that make these stories on the pages of this paper come to life.

I wish you all a very fond farewell.