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 — Mini finish only the beginning

[This is the unabridged version of my column that appeared in the May 11 issue of The Commercial Review. For the abridged version, click here.]

Mentally and physically I was prepared.

I had a plan I was going to follow that I was sure would help me reach both of my goals — finish, and do so in under two and a half hours.

I was already in the area because of the Indiana Associated Press Media Editors awards banquet*, I stayed just north of Indianapolis in Fishers with my friend Eric, his wife Clorissa and their son Sawyer. (It’s my go-to spot to crash whenever I need a night in the donut.

I had an alarm set for 6 a.m. Saturday, knowing full well I was going to hit snooze a couple times. I got up, changed, and left Fishers about a half hour later.

I got to Indianapolis and the Indiana Parking Garage, where I had reserved a parking spot for myself, not knowing what the parking situation was going to be like with thousands of extra people in the area.

I parked and made my way to the starting area on Washington Street in Indianapolis.

Rain began to sprinkle from the sky through the 44-degree air. I found the gear check UPS trucks, and it was then I opted at the last minute to ditch a jacket,]. Instead, I decided leggings, shorts, a long sleeve shirt, T-shirt and ball cap would be sufficient attire for the next three hours.

Photo May 06, 7 35 45 AM

“GOOD MORNING IT’S RACE DAY”

I joined the thousands of runners who were herded like cattle between steel barriers with banners indicating the start of each of the five waves, with letters representing “corrals” within each wave.

I made my way to Wave 4 in Corral Q, trying my best to be near the front and not have to fight too much with any runners ahead of me that might be a little slower than my intended pace.

We started to make our way forward toward the starting line, with an approximate start time of 8 a.m. As I took each step, my anxiousness to run was subdued. The wind was gusting and at that moment I regretted my earlier decision to run without a jacket.

Wave 4 approached the starting line. The IndyCar zoomed west on Washington Street in the Wholesale District of Indianapolis. With the official time above my head, the emcee began to count down from 10 to signify the start of the race.

As I began the race, I left my strategy in the starting corral.

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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 — Keep an eye open for runners

[This is my column in the Oct. 13 issue of The Commercial Review.]

There are less than seven months to go until my half marathon.

I wrote last month that August wasn’t the greatest in terms of my training. At least, it didn’t feel that way, as I logged 52.16 miles during those 31 days.

Compared to September, the previous month was much better.

I managed only 35.4 miles in September. That just includes time spent on the road or on a treadmill; it doesn’t account for the distances ran while playing softball or basketball a handful of times a week.

But, in September I did run my fastest time for a 5K race — I completed the Hudson Family Park 5K on Sept. 10 in 29 minutes, 56.9 seconds. Slightly more than two weeks later I ran 2 miles in under 20 minutes for the first time.

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