Opinion: Sports are not the only thing that matters

Sports aren’t important.

I’ve been mulling this topic for about a week now.

There is more to life than sports.

About 95 percent of my life revolves around sports. It is my hobby. It is my passion. It is my career. But over the course of the last 10-14 days, sports have taken a backseat to more pressing issues.

And my journalism career has taken note.

From July 6 through 11, my life was consumed by the Jay County Fair. For those in the area, that should come as no surprise. It is the biggest event of the year in this part of the state.

In 2014, my experience at the fair was broken up by a number of sporting events in which I covered. That was not the case this year because we’ve had a run-in with Mother Nature and her willingness to blanket the area with copious amounts of rain (we’ve had more than 20 inches of rain in the last six weeks — the yearly average is slightly higher than 20 inches total).

On July 8, Jay County was pummeled by rain. There was more than 30 inches of standing water at portions of Jay County Fairgrounds. I was caught outside in the storm that hit — it was not enjoyable.

Since the first day of the fair (July 6), I have done many things for my newspaper that I wouldn’t normally do otherwise, seeing as how I am the sports department.

  • Shot weather-related photos, including having one on the front page above the fold.

Two young fairgoers take shelter from heavy rain in the afternoon Tuesday, July 7, 2015 at Sterling’s Goldfish on the midway at Jay County Fairgrounds in Portland, Indiana. Rain caused flash flooding around much of the fairgrounds, forcing the evening activities to be canceled. (The Commercial Review/Chris Schanz)

Natalie May, left, smiles while she holds a camera and glances at the Living Statue, Mark Abbati, Wednesday at the Jay County Fair. (The Commercial Review/Chris Schanz)

Natalie May, left, smiles while she holds a camera and glances at the Living Statue, Mark Abbati, Wednesday, July 8, 2015, at the Jay County Fair in Portland, Indiana. (The Commercial Review/Chris Schanz)

  • Shot photos of kids playing in mud and dirty water during an activity on the final day of the fair.

Kylie Osborne dives head first through a mud puddle Saturday, July 11, 2015, after her team was eliminated from FFA mud volleyball tournament at Jay County Fairgrounds in Portland, Indiana. (The Commercial Review/Chris Schanz)

  • Spoke with local officials regarding flooding on Tuesday, the third such disaster downtown Portland has experienced in six weeks. Shot photos as well.
This aerial photo shows flooding of downtown Portland, Indiana, on Tuesday, July 14, 2015. (Photo provided by the office of Gov. Mike Pence)

This aerial photo shows flooding of downtown Portland, Indiana, on Tuesday, July 14, 2015. (Photo provided by the office of Gov. Mike Pence)

Caution tape blocks off a portion of West Arch street between Grand and Park streets in Portland. Heavy rain overnight forced the closing of many city streets today because of high water. (The Commercial Review/Chris Schanz)

Caution tape blocks off a portion of West Arch street between Grand and Park streets in Portland, Indiana, Tuesday, July 14, 2015. Heavy rain overnight forced the closing of many city streets because of high water. (The Commercial Review/Chris Schanz)

  • Nearly died.
  • Wrote a feature story as part of our summer series on the final graduating class of Portland High School in 1975 before the five remaining high schools (at one point there were eight) consolidated into one county-wide high school.

My life is generally consumed by sports. Since July 6, that has hardly been the case. I have only covered three baseball games and one summer basketball camp. Everything else I have done has been more related to general news, and frankly, it’s been a nice change in pace.

It’s a constant reminder that there is more to life than just sports.

And it has allowed me to become a journalist who can do more than just write about and shoot photos of sports. In two days, I talked with the mayor of Portland more than I had in the previous two years. I had spoken with the chief of the Portland Police Department for the first (and subsequently, second) time since I’ve been in Jay County.

I’ve written more about non-sports news in the last two weeks than I had in my life.

Strangely, I’m OK with that. I like the work that I’ve done, and that I’ve been able to help out my coworkers on some of the biggest stories impacting the area in a number of years.

Every single day of my job is different; no two days are the same. It is what has kept my job fun, and may make it difficult to leave should that time ever come.

Sports are not the only thing that matters.

Life. That’s what matters.

-cs-

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