Another year older, wiser

By Justin Hubbard

 

“Time flies when you’re having fun.” – Someone smarter than me

Somehow, I find myself disbelieving the fact this Friday, Aug. 11, is my one-year anniversary at Lake Oconee News.

On that day, which fell on a Thursday last year, I began my professional career at one of my hometown papers. It was not the original plan I had for myself, but I’ve heard the best way to make God laugh is by telling him your plans.

I’m sure he laughed his tail off at me last May when I graduated from UGA thinking my life was headed in a totally different direction. Although I did not expect to get a job at Lake Oconee News before I interviewed here last July, I couldn’t imagine the past year going any differently.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with this company. The powers that be entrusted me with the duties of sports editor, which has brought on a lot of work but a whole lot of fun, too.

Because of my job, I’ve gotten to know many great people. I’ve had the privilege of seeing several Lake Country athletes do awesome things in their respective sports.

Of course, there’s been heartbreak for those athletes, too. It sucks watching those kids fight hard for an entire season only for it to end on a sour note. I’ve always known that’s a possibility with the collegiate sports I’ve covered, obviously, but seeing this at such a smaller, more intimate level really makes you feel for those kids.

My job isn’t always comfortable because I often have to take pictures of athletes with tears in their eyes and talk to coaches who probably want nothing to do with me after losses. I appreciate the coaches in Lake Country for never turning me away, though.

I’ve been treated well everywhere I’ve gone to cover sports. It makes my job even more worthwhile knowing the parents, friends and family members of the athletes I write about actually pay attention to and appreciate what I do.

Unfortunately, throughout my admittedly brief journalistic career, I have yet to cover a team that won a championship.

This past year, the Morgan County softball team made it all the way to the Elite Eight round of the playoffs. My bags were packed in my car one Friday night in case the Lady Dogs advanced to play the next morning. Instead of leaving from a football game in Eatonton and driving to Columbus, though, I had to go home after the softball team dropped a 4-3 heartbreaker to East Jackson, which ended its season.

Greene County – my alma mater – looked as if its football team could’ve been the first title winner I’d cover. The Tigers won two playoff games then fell on the road at McIntosh, which brought an end to football season throughout Lake Country. That was a long drive back from Darien.

Morgan’s girls and boys basketball teams again ran roughshod and won a couple playoff games. The girls lost in Savannah, two wins away from another state title, and then the boys lost in the championship game.

Those examples are just scratching the surface.

There were so many “maybes” and “what could’ve beens” this past year. Hopefully, the 2017-18 school year leaves behind the hypothetical scenarios in exchange for trophies.  

And, hopefully, I’ll be the one to write those championship stories. Not out of selfishness, but because I’ve spent a year getting to know coaches, families and athletes all across Lake Country. It’d be my honor to pen the words that will be remembered by them forever.

So thank you, readers, for putting up with me for a year. Thank you to the coaches who have explained to me how things went for their teams in the past because I wasn’t there to see those seasons.

I’m all caught up now, and I’m ready to ball out this year.

Get ready – the Lake Oconee News sports section is about to get even better.

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