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.
- Shot photos of kids playing in mud and dirty water during an activity on the final day of the fair.
- Spoke with local officials regarding flooding on Tuesday, the third such disaster downtown Portland has experienced in six weeks. Shot photos as well.
- 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.