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 — Talking after defeat is difficult

[This is my column in the Oct. 15 issue of The Commercial Review.]

“This is the hard one.”

That’s what I said to Jay County High School girls soccer coach Giles Laux moments after his Patriot squad lost to Yorktown in the sectional championship Saturday afternoon.

He had no words.

Hours later, again at Yorktown Sports Park, I stood between seniors Nathan Heitkamp and Colton Compton to speak with them about their heartbreaking defeat in penalty kicks to the Tigers in their sectional final.

“What’s going through your head right now?” I asked.

They had no words.

All three of them had to fight back emotion. Laux, whose team had won back-to-back sectional championships — Abby Champ coached it to the 2013 title — was able to hide behind his sunglasses. The others were not.

They just looked away.

Laux and I had to continue the interview a few minutes later.

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Column: Line Drives — Willis is getting better with age

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

I don’t golf very much, but I can spot a gifted golfer when I see one.

Sydney Willis is that type of golfer.

Strong. Smart. Talented.

And most importantly, humble.

She knows she’s good, but she doesn’t let it go to her head.

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Column: Line Drives — Weather not fit for the season

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

Wool socks, long sleeve t-shirt, gloves, jacket and a beanie.

Those items seem more fit to attend a sectional football game in late October or early November.

But that’s what one local sports editor — me — wore while covering a golf match Thursday.

It’s also what I should have worn at a baseball game Wednesday in Berne.

And it may be the new wardrobe for those attending prom this weekend.
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Column: Line Drives — Weekend exciting for local athletics

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

It’s going to be an exciting weekend in Jay County.

It’ll be a busy one as well.

The Patriots host the inaugural Allen County Athletic Conference swim meet, which begins with diving at 6 p.m. Friday.

On Saturday, the swimming portion of the meet will begin at 9 a.m., and just a short walk away in the main gym the Patriot wrestling team hosts its ACAC tournament at the same time.

As it was with the conference hoops tournaments, the excitement level is high for the swim and wrestling teams to compete for conference titles.

“Conference should be a good swim meet,” said JCHS girls swim coach Matt Slavik. “Every team that’s coming in has some talent. It’s going to give us a run for our money.
The Patriot girls are favorites to win as a team, as Slavik and his girls have defeated the three other squads — Adams Central, South Adams and Bluffton — in dual meets this season.

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Column: Line Drives — Winter sports are on the way

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

What a difference a year makes.

While two fall sports programs are still alive — the South Adams and Fort Recovery football teams are amidst playoff runs — the last few weeks I’ve been preparing for the start of winter sports.

Unlike a year ago, I welcome the season with open arms.

And it’s just around the corner.

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Column: Line Drives — Travels a fun part of the job

[This is my column in the Oct. 23 issue of The Commercial Review.]

There are many telltale signs the seasons are changing.

Temperatures drop, nightfall comes earlier and the leaves start to change — just to name a few.

Another less common and far less noticeable way to tell the calendar is moving deeper into fall is by glancing at the odometer on my vehicle.

In just 15 days, Jay County, Fort Recovery and South Adams sports have taken me to seven different cities covering a total of 933 miles.

That’s just in October.

And it doesn’t include trips to Fort Wayne tonight and Saturday, or Marion Friday.

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