We have laughed, cheered and cried together; Thank you, Troy

Published 7:50 pm Wednesday, September 3, 2014

When I first stepped out of my truck on a balmy July morning over six years ago for my Impact session at Troy University, I figured I had the world by the tail. Little did I know, that was far from the truth. Over the last six years, the City of Troy has been the place I have called home, and while Elba will forever and always be my hometown, this community will most definitely hold a special place in my heart.

This week is my last at The Messenger, and I just wanted to take the time and opportunity to let you folks know what this town means to me.

The last six years have been quite a ride. Like many, I first came to Troy to get a degree. I wanted to get in, get the diploma and get out. I never thought this town would have a lasting impact on me. However, it was at Troy University that I discovered what my true love was. While I came to college to be a teacher, I left with a degree in journalism, and have never regretted it.

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My time as a sports journalist in this town has been nothing short of magical. I have had the great opportunity to interview, work with and learn from some of the brightest sports minds around. Interacting with great coaches such as Derek Irons, Butch Austin, Bobby Pierce, Bart Snyder, Larry Blakeney, Mike Dean and the late Dee Hughes has made me look at the world from a different viewpoint. There is no doubt that not for the time spent with those mentioned, and the rest of the amazing individuals in the coaching world, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

Now is the point of the story where I give a big thank you to folks that have helped me, so bear with me. Without the help and support of TPRD director Dan Smith, the Troy Athletics Media Relations staff, former Messenger sports editor Wes Johnson, Chuck Ingram, Jaxson Lee, Greg Avant, Keith Snyder, Willie Wright and a host of others, I would not have been able to do the job I love. Thanks to each and every one of you.

Most sports writers at smaller, community-based papers will cover less than a handful of championship sporting events. But thanks to this town, I have well exceeded that baseline. Charles Henderson High School won back-to-back baseball state titles, played for a football title and sent a basketball team to the state final four. Pike Liberal nearly took home a baseball championship and Susie Stell won an AISA golf title. Goshen softball and volleyball went to the top of the heap. Pike County turned the corner and is beginning to march back to where the Bulldogs belong.

I was able to be a part of so many great moments that I will remember for the rest of my life. I have always said that good stories tell themselves, and that I just get to put my name on them. In the last few years in Troy, I have had the honor of attaching my name to quite a few of those great stories.

Lastly, I want to thank all of you for allowing me to be a part of your morning coffee over the last few years.

I have done my best to provide you with information on your local sports teams, as well as trying to provide a laugh or two along the way. Sports are fun, always remember that.

I have never been good at goodbyes, so … until we meet again Troy.