Although I discovered early in life that I was a better writer than I was an athlete, sports have also held a special place in my heart. My first professional writing job was covering high school sports as a stringer for a local newspaper when I was a sophomore in high school. Since then, I have spent many Friday nights under the lights. Years later, sports writing is still something I enjoy as I often look back fondly on those days of eating soft tacos in my car while rushing to cover a game.
Bulldogs End 16-year Skid
I wrote this article while working as the Sports Editor for the Texas City Sun. Covering the Hitchcock Bulldogs and their magical season was definitely a highlight of my time covering sports in Galveston County, TX. Because no one could find a key to allow us to enter the dry confines of the snack bar, the interviews for this article were conducted in the rain .
I mention the rain because while my trusty micro-recorder captured the interview, it died from water exposure the second after I transcribed all of the quotes back in the dry newsroom. To this day, I am grateful that my recorder waited until after I retrieved the quotes to fail.
Lady Rebels Serve it Up
This article was written during my time as assistant Sports Editor at The Baytown Sun and is a game summary of the first volleyball match inside the new Lee College arena. Being back inside the arena was a bit surreal. I had covered the groundbreaking of the arena during my time as the college’s Public Information Manager and had also traveled with the volleyball team in my role as Sports Information Director. It definitely felt strange returning as a reporter on the other side of the table.
Aside from covering the game as a reporter, I was also able to use my photographic skills which always made covering events even more fun.
Football Program Rocked by Cellular Phone Fraud Scandal
I wrote this article for Knight Times, the weekly newspaper I created while I was a student at the University of Central Florida. The article holds special significance for me because it was one of the first times that Knight Times scooped our competition by getting a story to print before they did.
I even built a whole marketing campaign around it. Thanks to this article, for a year the tagline, “Don’t wait for the future, get with the Times was plastered all over and featured prominently in house ads within the newspaper.
Years later, the article is also a reminder of just how expensive and novel cell phones were back in the late 1990’s. And to think, all they did back then was allow us to make phone calls on the go.
PK Propels UCF Past Panthers
This is another article from Knight Times. It is a short and simple recap of a Women’s soccer match between the University of Central Florida and Florida International University. I included the article because it reminds me of my time working as an intern in the Sports Information Office. The game was one of many rainy and humid afternoons spent watching soccer on a field that has since been turned into a parking garage.
I-A…It’s Time to Play
I wrote this article during my second stint at the Central Florida Future. Five months after this article was published, I started Knight Times, which was a direct competitor of the Future. As mentioned above with the article about the cell phone scandal, I managed to scoop the Future on a regular basis.
The article reminds me of both the excitement of a college football team advancing to the big time of NCAA athletics, while also reminding me of the Robert Frost poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay”.
In 1996, UCF became the fourth top tier NCAA football team in Florida. At the time, some people wondered if that was too much football for one state to handle. Since that time, at least three other Florida schools have made the same leap; leading to an even more crowded recruiting pond.
Bellhorn’s No-Hitter Sends Lions to Regionals
Ask almost any baseball writer to name items on their bucket list, and odds are, one of the items on the list will be, to cover a no-hitter or perfect game. Six months into my professional writing career, I had the opportunity to cover a no-hitter during a high school playoff game at my Alma mater, Oviedo High School.
With 30 years of hindsight, there are some things I would do differently were I covering the story today. Even so, this is still a fun piece of my writing history, and to date, it is still the only no hitter I have covered.
Stings Stadium Renovation Complete
Although this article at its core is about a high school baseball coach, and the love he had for his ballpark in Texas, writing it reminded me of Orlando’s Tinker Field. Tinker Filed was the ballpark I I spent many days watching games with my mom and is something I will always treasure.
The article also always reminds me of how much fun it always was whenever I got to interview coach Chuck Young. Coach Young was definitely a baseball lifer and had the stories to go with it. Sadly, Coach Young died in 2017. Thanks to the magic of the written word, some of his quotes will live on for years to come, as will the impact he made in the lives of those who were fortunate enough to know him..
Explosions Postpone Games
This article represented the second time in my career that an explosion during a baseball game caused me to pivot from being a sports reporter enjoying a quiet night at the ballpark, to become a news reporter covering a breaking news event.
The first instance occurred while covering a baseball game in Longwood, FL. I was the first reporter on the scene when a student decided to blow up some toilets inside the school. I will never forget the look on the face of the reporter from the local TV station when he learned that a stringer from a small paper beat him to the scene.
In the second instance, my night at the ballpark was interrupted by an explosion at a local refinery. The explosion was a bit louder than cherry bombs in a toilet from years earlier, but it lead to the same result of a postponed game.
Stingarees win Humidity Bowl
In this article, I answered the age-old question of what happens if one combines basketball and hockey? With conditions on the court deteriorating by the second, the players on both teams made a valiant effort to compete. In the end, nature proved the true victor as the elements proved too tough to tame.
Of course, while some fans may have been disappointed in only seeing three quarters of action, I was happy to have the extra time to get back to the newsroom and edit my section. Thus proving one person’s sadness is another person’s gladness.
Lee College Athletes try not to do less with less
For this article, I found myself sitting across the table from four good friends and former colleagues discussing upcoming budget cuts in an athletic department I had worked alongside them in just a few months earlier.
As I wrote the article about the difficult future they were each facing to keep their teams competitive with a third less money, I couldn’t help but let my mind wander to the happier times when I was promoting the feast years, instead of now chronicling the impending famine they were each facing.
I also thought that many of the media guides and other promotional items I had worked so hard to develop with the coaches during my tenure as Sports Information Director, would likely be among the items on the chopping block for my successor.
This article definitely proved that knowing the interview subjects on a deeper level can be both a blessing and a curse.
Former player’s eligibility heats up meeting
For this article, I relied as much on my years covering school board meetings as I did on my years covering high school athletics. The two worlds came crashing together like an unblocked linebacker towards a quarterback.
Looking back on the article nearly 20 years later, it seems almost unimaginable to think that a school board would have so much power over where a student could play high school football, especially in the days where college athletes are able to switch schools with a frequency never seen before.
La Marque Manhandles TC
I wrote this article the day after the contentious school board meeting over whether or not a player who switched schools could suit up for the cross-town rival. The passions that filled that School Board meeting on Thursday night were even more fervent in the bleachers the next day.
Put simply, this article is about the typical Friday Night fury under the lights that Texas high school football is all about. It is also a story from the night when I realized that some school board superintendents have a luxury suite at high school stadiums, which seems wrong on so many levels.