Thursday, March 19, 2009
Work but lots of fun
I asked sports crew members Claude Vinson, Lawrence White and Ronnie Day, “What are we going to do? Basketball season is over. No more road trips?”
The answer is simple. Move on to baseball, softball, track and whatever else.
But after 40 games played by the state champions, the H.W. Byers girls, plus bunches of other games from county schools Byhalia, Holly Springs, Potts Camp and Marshall Academy, we were sort of shocked this past weekend that the season was suddenly finished. We felt a bit lost.
We’d been constantly going to gyms since the season started for some schools in October 2008.
No doubt, basketball is big in Marshall County.
Look no further than the success of the Byers girls and the Holly High boys in recent years – both owners of back-to-back state championships, the Lady Lions in 2008 and 2009 and the Hawks in 2004 and 2005.
And the success at our area schools carries beyond the basketball court itself. It spills over into pride community-wide.
The South Reporter team is always made to feel a part of the Lions, Lady Lions, Indians, Lady Indians, Hawks, Lady Hawks, Cardinals, Lady Cardinals, Patriots and Lady Patriots.
The fans recognize us. The players recognize us. And they always roll out the welcome mat.
I particularly noticed it at “The Big House” in Jackson when the Byers fans often shouted, “Mr. White, Mr. White.”
They wanted their pictures taken for their newspaper. And we were able to feature just a small sampling of those Byers supporters on last week’s front page.
This team has a tremendous following. And they’ve always impressed our sports crew as being one big, happy family.
Covering our local teams is our job, but it’s loads of fun, too. We truly enjoy being around the fans and the players and supporting our young people.
That’s why we do what we do. It’s all about the student athletes. They deserve the coverage – win or lose.
They want to see their pictures and names in the community newspaper, and if the community newspaper is doing what it is supposed to do, it will put them on those pages.
We’re constantly amazed when we go to tournaments or big games and other teams participating do not have media representatives in attendance.
That won’t happen here – at least under my watch.
That’s not to say we can make all the games in a long season. We don’t. But through our teamwork with the coaches, we still make our best effort to report on the games.
For the most part, our experiences at this year’s state tournaments and overall tournaments (Mississippi High School Activities Association and Mississippi Private School Association) were some of the best ever.
No longer do security officers patrol near the goals at the Mississippi Coliseum, making sure the photographers don’t put one foot on the end of the court.
I was a bit upset Thursday at halftime of the Byers-McAdams game when I tried to walk into the hospitality room inside the front door of “The Big House.”
I was abruptly stopped by two officials (I guess security personnel guarding the room) and told I didn’t have the proper credentials to enter. I showed my press pass, but that wasn’t good enough. Turns out, I needed a V.I.P. pass.
The security personnel directed me to the other side of the gym – where the working press could get drinks and chips.
Claude found out the next day that we actually had V.I.P. passes but didn’t get them. As I’ve said before, most problems are lack of communication.
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