[This is my column in The Commercial Review from today.]
I can’t help but echo Ray’s sentiment from his column Tuesday about fall sports.
But for “The New Ray Cooney,” the feeling is a little more intense.
After finally getting the fall schedule put together Monday, what initially looked like a daunting task has soon turned into something to be pleased about.
And it’s the memories made as a player that make me anxious to get the fall sports underway.
From the time my team was one game away from the Little League state tournament, to having a senior-league doubleheader canceled because neither starting catcher (including myself) was wearing a protective cup are memories I will never forget.
Going 7-2 in football my freshman year (which even included a rushing touchdown as a pulling guard) and losing 50-22 to a junior varsity team, whose varsity counterparts would win the state championship that year is another fond memory. The 22 points we put up on them was also the most points scored on that JV team all season.
My varsity team also had the pleasure of playing against Pittsburgh Steeler and future Super Bowl champion LaMarr Woodley.
But given the memories made on the field, even more memories were made from the sidelines or the stands.
Being a part of 12,000 people watching two of Michigan’s best football teams in a stadium set up to hold at most 3,000 students was something never to be forgotten.
Then there’s witnessing the football program play deep into the playoffs for the first time in its history.
There’s also the memory of being in the stands for a three-overtime girls’ basketball state semifinal, having my friends on the court emerging victorious only to see them fall in the finals nearly 18 hours later. The following year, I could be seen cheering on the same girls’ basketball team as they won the school’s first state championship in 2003.
The memories made as a player and as a spectator are very strong.
As my high school days are over, the only fitting way to make new sports memories is to be part of the media.
It has always been a dream to cover sports, and the dream began Wednesday.
What intrigues me about the fall sports schedule is having the opportunity to spend time around the rich athletic histories of Jay County, South Adams and Fort Recovery.
There’s also the opportunity to be around sports with which my familiarity is minimal at best, like golf, volleyball and cross country, for example.
But it’s the chance to grow as a writer as the athletes themselves grow throughout their season and careers that is sought after most.
It is evident Ray has made fond memories covering Jay County, South Adams and Fort Recovery.
Now it’s time to make mine.
In other words, get ready to see me a lot more.