Column: Line Drives — Heroes helped hurting half

[This is my column in the Sept. 28 issue of The Commercial Review.]

At some point in our lives, we’ve all come across a hero.

We may have seen them on TV, throwing a football, blasting a baseball or making a championship-clinching hoop.

Perhaps they were wearing a different type of uniform.

A firefighter rescuing us — or friends, or family — from a blaze. Maybe it’s a police officer or a paramedic pulling us or a loved one out of an automobile accident.

It could even be a medical professional who helped with rehabilitation, or a doctor who discovers an affliction before it worsens, or a surgeon who saves a life.

There are even fictional heroes. Batman. Superman. Wonder Woman.

But heroes don’t always wear masks or capes.

More often than not, they don’t even have a uniform. They’re just everyday citizens coming to aide someone in need.

I gained two heroes Saturday.

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Column: Line Drives — Four years hold special memories

[This is my column in the June 30 issue of The Commercial Review.]

Four years.

Saturday marks four years as sports editor of The Commercial Review.

I didn’t expect to be here this long.

No, that’s not to say I don’t want to still be here — I do — nor am I on my way out the door.

If you don’t mind, I think I’m going to stay for a while longer.

I just never thought I’d hit four years.

I thought I’d put in a year or two and move on. It’s the epitome of small-town, community journalism — get a foot in the door, gain experience, go elsewhere.

But I don’t want to.

And I’m glad I haven’t.

It’d be hard for me to imagine not being around to see the culmination of the high school athletic careers of four local athletes.

Four years ago I came to Portland not knowing what I was getting myself into.

Four years later, the class of 2017 is the first group of student-athletes I’ve gotten to cover all the way through high school.

There are four in particular whose careers have stuck out the most.

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Column: Line Drives — Question examines what to do next

[This is my column in the June 22 issue of The Commercial Review.]

Where do I go from here?

In August, I set a goal of running a half marathon.

I trained for nine months. Some days and weeks were better than others, but I did the best I could to prepare myself both mentally and physically for 13.1 miles.

I accomplished the feat May 6.

But what now?

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Column: Line Drives — Break busted burnout beliefs

[This is my column in the March 16 issue of The Commercial Review.]

I played baseball for nine years. I was a football player for six more.

But I didn’t make it to my junior year of high school in either. I had a few things I wanted to do academically as well as enter the workforce. The fact I had an all-state kid who started in front of me in both sports didn’t necessarily make me want to keep playing.

It’s a decision I regret to this day. We always wish we could go back and change the past, thinking “What if?”

My decisions to quit baseball and football, my two favorite sports that I still love to this day, were difficult to make.

Thankfully however, those decisions were not based on one thing that I fear has been plaguing me lately in training for May’s Indy Mini: burnout.

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Column: Line Drives — Wrestling ability got taken down

[This is my column in the Feb. 24 issue of The Commercial Review.]

One of the first ways we learn as infants is by watching our parents.

The same can be true with learning to play sports. We watch others throw a football, swing a bat or shoot a basketball.

Our eyes are the first way we learn new tasks or new skills; by seeing someone else do it.

Many times, the thought “Hey, I can do that!” springs up in our minds, leading us to try something new.

Even as we age, that thought still pops up now and again.

It’s how I recently took up running.

It’s also what took me to the wrestling room at Jay County High School on Wednesday afternoon.

Saturday completed my fourth season covering high school wrestling, and after watching hundreds of matches during that time, the thought “Hey, I can do that!” popped into my head.

Well, I can’t.

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Column: Line Drives — Being in right spot is half the battle

[This is my column in the Dec. 29 issue of The Commercial Review.]

“Awesome picture.”

“Great photo.”

“Perfect shot.”

Those are just a few of the comments I’ve gotten in the last couple years on photos I’ve taken.

But I’ll admit: Getting those pictures has more to do with Lady Luck than it does my abilities as a photographer.

Half the battle behind a good sports photo is being in the right place at the right time.

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Column: Line Drives — Running might be addicting

[This is my column in the Dec. 1 issue of The Commercial Review.]

“You’re addicted,” he said to me, as we stood in the produce section of a local grocery store.

His statement didn’t spark a verbal response; just a smile and a little bit of a blush.

“You’ll start trying something new for more of a challenge,” he continued.

I couldn’t bring myself to agree with him at that moment. But of all people, he knows what he’s talking about.

An avid runner himself, Donald Gillespie has watched the progress I’ve made over the course of the last 11 months.

There was once a time I wouldn’t dare run on a treadmill, let alone run on the streets of Portland and in multiple 5K races.

But I just can’t let go of that one word Donald said to me on Monday.

“Addicted.”

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