When Christmas comes early for a sports editor

Published 12:27 am Tuesday, December 24, 2019

It certainly can go without saying that I didn’t have to wait until Christmas morning this year to get some of the best gifts ever.
Let’s see….I can go back to April 15 when Elizabethton Star General Manager Delaney Scalf extended the opportunity to me to join the staff of the Elizabethton Star as the Sports Editor.
I will never be able to thank him enough for this opportunity. It has been everything that I imagined it would be when I took the position and more!
One might say that it was an answer to prayer and finally finding something that fit like a glove and I didn’t have to worry about taking it to exchange it for anything else.
And what a ride it’s been starting with covering the Elizabethton baseball team and following the Cyclones to their second straight appearance at Murfreesboro in the Spring Fling. And for good measure, Coach Kenneth Chambers led his Lady Rangers to the Spring Fling as well in softball giving me the opportunity to cover these two local teams that deserved everything that came their way.
I also had the opportunity to cover Natalie Newsome from Happy Valley as she capped off a great senior year by winning the state pole vault in convincing fashion during the State Track Finals.
Also reaching that level was Jasmine Roberts of Elizabethton and Shalyn Whitson from Happy Valley in the shot put. What a great way to end a spring full of sports.
During the summer months, while school was out, the Elizabethton Twins were in town and made another run for the title coming up just short.
Then with school kicking off, the football season got underway and by the time the regular season had ended, all five schools participating from Carter County had earned playoff spots.
It was a rough opening week for Happy Valley and Unaka who fell in their first game but Hampton, Cloudland and Elizabethton kept advancing with a chance for all three to make it deep.
The Cyclones remained the lone team standing and completed a remarkable undefeated 15-0 season and a state championship…Merry Christmas Ivan.
Now, basketball is in full swing along with wrestling and swimming thrown in the mix. Who knows what the next gift could be?
This year has been as exciting to me as a kid that wakes up to a new bicycle or a gaming system tied with a big red bow under the Christmas tree. What has made it so special is seeing all the kids grow up and represent this county the way they have.
Some may say that I am biased toward the Cyclones but right now without any waver and a clear conscious I can tell everyone reading this piece that I am PROUD to be associated with all the schools in this wonderful county we call home.
I have tried my best to reach out this year to as many coaches as I could possibly reach and have invited everyone to send in their books and boxscores to make sure everyone is included from youth to high school level.
Why,,,because its very important to me to make sure all kids get recognized. I hope to continue to grow and foster relationships with all the coaches of all sports to make sure this is accomplished.
Finally, I wanted to take time to wish some very important people a Merry Christmas publicly because, without them, there is no way that this sports section could be what it is.
There are some guys that I have leaned on for support to make sure that we get as much as we can which I believe you the reader have taken notice of.
Allen LaMountain, Nic Miller, Austin Alexander, Danny Blevins, Carter Everett, and C.Y. Peters have been right by my side in ensuring that games were presented in a manner that gave an overview of the action from the events they covered so our readers could read about their children and grandchildren.
They have accepted my challenge to be as positive as possible for the kid’s sake but to tell the story as accurately as possible.
Secondly, the great pictures our readers see on a daily basis wouldn’t be possible without Larry Souders, Brandon Hyde, Dawn Lambert and Jeff Vonglis who in my humble opinion are some of the best sports photographers that a sports editor can lean on for the best action shots from local teams.
There is a person that also works behind the scenes that no one sees at a game or behind a lens, but without her expert and creative mind when it comes to paginating a sports page, the Star sports page would not be what it is and that special person is Robin Johnson.
I tell her this all the time but as I said I want to publically thank her for her detail in putting the sports page together for you our readers.
Lastly, I want to tell you, our Star readers, how much I appreciate all of you. The comments that I receive when out on a daily basis touch me deeply and it is encouraging to hear your kind words and remarks about the sports section especially.
And yes, if you give me a negative remark, I still appreciate you because it makes me a better sports editor because it challenges me to see where I may be dropping the ball and where I need to improve.
My prayer is that this Christmas will be your best yet and that most importantly that no one will ever forget the true meaning of the season and that is the birth of the Savior of mankind- Jesus Christ.
He is the Lord of this Sports Editor’s life and I hope that when you see me, that you see Him even more. Merry Christmas and God Bless!!

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