"The other team is watching you, can we intimidate them and say you're with ESPN doing a documentary on us?"

Rain, baseball and championships in Montgomery

“Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.”

-Franz Kafka

I get the question all of the time while I’m standing on sports sidelines shooting games,

“So where did you go to school, you must have been a broadcast or journalism major.”

My answer surprises most people. No. I have a degree in both American Politics and Government and Sociology.

That’s right, this sports chick has no formal educational background in the very thing in which she plans to make a career. And I knew that when I declared my majors. I didn't switch career plans after stepping out in the real world. So far it’s worked out for me just fine, thanks to a lot of patience and trust from my co-workers. (shout out to bossman Harris and Tbaums)

Sure, I spent all of my time at UVa following athletes around after politics class doing relatively the same things I learned to do with WTVY, but I really had no idea what I was doing… I was just winging it. Point of the story, despite what sort of degree I was pursuing in the classroom, I’ve always known what I wanted to do. I want to be a sideline reporter on the field of the biggest college games or the NFL. So when I graduated I was adamant about what sort of job opportunities I was going to entertain. I was determined not to start my career in the sports department of a newsroom. My words verbatim were, “I don’t want to get stuck as anyone’s local sports girl covering high school games.” Now, I’m eating my words.

I spent last week in Montgomery (which is why I apologize for my late blog post… they kept me busy!) covering both the high school baseball and softball state tournaments. And I was so extremely humbled to be present to watch two teams that we have covered all season win their state championships. In fact, it was absolutely precious.

I was able to cover Houston Academy baseball in their semi-final game in Luverne. I had covered the Raiders before but never really got a chance to interact with the players or the program beyond shooting highlights from behind the home plate fence. And let me tell ya, I was missing out as I’m sure I am with plenty of other teams I haven’t had a chance to chat with.

These guys are characters. Sorry to call you out boys, but your sly attempts to make small talk with the reporter gave me quite a few flattered chuckles. I actually have to give you props, nobody can say you don't have spunk.

The Raiders are more superstitious than most teams I’ve encountered. They have a wooden mascot that they claim has brought them all of their luck and wins. (but as someone that knows a little something about baseball, they’re just pretty darn good) After their wins in Luverne they were convinced that I had to be the reporter that covered them at states. And who I am to mess with that?! So off to Montgomery I go, camera in hand…. And bless their little hearts they won the whole thing.

Despite being a potential “good luck charm” I take no claim in their win, but they can stake some claim in mine one day. The Raiders and all of the other high school athletes we work with have forced me to stop and smell the roses, even when I didn’t think there were any roses around.

I certainly never thought I was above covering high school sports, but I was afraid I wouldn’t learn what I needed to handle myself on bigger fields. When I think back to what I said when I graduated, I’m so glad I changed my perspective and accepted this job. I almost let my ambition cheat me out of an extremely rewarding experience, one that I will carry with me throughout my adventures.

I have to admit that my favorite thing to cover is college sports because I respect the athletes so much. In reality, they’re 18-21 year old kids that have taken on something huge because they love what they do. They don’t ask for anything more than playing time and an opportunity. They’re in school and bettering themselves. There’s so much to respect. But I have a new respect for the high school sidelines. The goofballs I got to hang out with leading up to and after the state tournament were so refreshing.

To get to be in the dug out to watch these guys jump up and down at every good play and come off the field frustrated but determined after a bad one was priceless.

Then the next day I was back on the same field to watch Austin Ingram slam a two run homer and see John Johnson steal home on a routine pitch (it was phenomenal, my jaw is still on the floor) and win Charles Henderson the 4A State Championship.

So I’ll take off my reporter mask for just a second and commend both teams on their awesome accomplishments. If they’re anything like me I hope it taught them that in the midst of graduation and college applications and looks to the future that living in the moment and learning what you can from even the small fields is worth while.

I began this post with a quote that says the ability to see beauty is the key to youth. I think in this case, or my case, seeing the beauty in youth benefitted me even more.

Smile at the world and the world will smile back at you,

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