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 — 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 — Question from a fan was a surprise

[This is my column in the Nov. 19 issue of The Commercial Review.]

It was a question that caught me off guard.

Saturday in Monroeville, the Jay County High School girls basketball team had just finished beating the host Heritage Patriots.

It was the second win in as many games — also the second game I covered this winter sports season — and the eighth consecutive regular season Allen County Athletic Conference victory for Jay County.

Usually I’m the one asking the questions following a game. Sometimes, I even catch the athletes off guard with one of my inquiries.

The table was turned Saturday.

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Column: Line Drives — Jay will compete for ACAC titles

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

The elephant is no longer in the room.

Now that Leo High School has moved to the Northeast Eight Conference, let’s talk about Allen County Athletic Conference.

It was supposed to be a cakewalk for Jay County, the biggest school in the conference.

At least, that’s what many people were saying leading up to Jay County’s inaugural season in the ACAC.

The Patriots compete in 20 sports, and all but one — gymnastics — have a conference affiliation.

But after a full year of competing in the ACAC, only two Patriot teams are defending conference championships.

Two.

And they both came from the same sports season.

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Column: Line Drives — Hoops teams saw success

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

One team was 20-6. The other finished 18-7.

Both played for a conference championship, but only one claimed the title.

And both also had good runs to the sectional title game.

I’m talking about the Jay County High School boys and girls basketball teams.

And despite not winning a sectional trophy, that doesn’t mean either team had a disappointing season.

Here’s why.

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Column: Line Drives — He’s the Hart of Jay County

[This is my column in the March 6 issue of The Commercial Review.]

Some people in the Jay County community know the man behind the name Jason Hart.

Others don’t.

And when asked who exactly Jason Hart is, even he had to find the right answer to the question.

“Probably what I have in my Twitter profile,” he said.

But even then, he had a hard time recalling how he describes himself to his nearly 400 followers.

“Husband, father of three, Roman Catholic Church Organist. Music Teacher,” it reads, among other things. He was limited to 160 characters.

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Column: Line Drives — Lack of respect damages integrity

[This is my column in the Feb. 26 issue of The Commercial Review.]

Some may argue all-inclusive playoff systems are bad for sports.

They will state that it takes away from the importance of the regular season. Or that it doesn’t make sense to reward teams with a playoff appearance if they didn’t fare well during the season.

Opponents of those arguments, however, can point to the recent developments in Tennessee.

The girls basketball teams from Riverdale and Smyrna high schools are no longer allowed to participate in the postseason this year after they were accused of intentionally trying to lose their game on Saturday.

Why, you may ask?

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