They say all good things must come to an end, and in my case that is true. For the last six years I have had the pleasure and honor of being the high school sports journalist for the Elkin Tribune and the Yadkin Ripple. At the time of the publication of this letter, my two week notice has been completed and I have moved on to another job venture.
For the past six years I have been able to live out one of my dreams, and it was nothing short of amazing. I have covered every type of athletic event, state championship games, regional matches, and even a few ACC Barnstorming Tour games. I have been able to interview countless athletes, coaches, athletic directors, and teachers.
There are moments from the past six years that I will never forget and will carry with me as I move throughout my life. One of those events is being able to cover my former soccer team, the Forbush Falcons, as they played for the state championship. Only five years prior, I was on that same field playing for the same trophy. It was a full circle moment that gave me a unique perspective on how the next six years would play out.
When I look back at the day I received the offer to work at the paper – March third, to be exact – I was sitting in a Walmart parking lot in Wilmington trying to figure out what my future would look like. I did not want to move back to Yadkin County, and I definitely did not want to move back in with my parents. In my mind I was excited for the opportunity, but dreaded coming home. Now, I am happy to say that I am glad I took the job.
Six years ago, the first person I called when I received this job was Kenan James, the former Falcons soccer coach. He was always the one person who helped me overcome any obstacle in high school. He was always believing in me and helping me fight the human tendency to be mediocre. Without his support, I would not have taken this job. He gave me a piece of advice that I want to pass along to whoever takes my place, and whomever is reading this article. He asked me if I looked back a few years from now at this moment, would I be willing to let it go or would I be happy that I took the leap into this job. As I write this, I can say with the fullest intent that I would not be the person I am today had I not taken this job.
These past few years have been some of the best years of my life so far. I was able to become friends with coaches I have looked up to. I was able to capture moments of the athletes as they achieved their dreams of playing college sports.
I was able to sit in the dugout at East Wilkes where I talked about coffee and random things to a group of baseball players who I will never forget. To the group of Forbush basketball players who I had a pregame ritual with, thank you for the memories.
This job gave me the chance to be a role model for female athletes and students who were looking to get into a male dominated job. The opportunities and the accounts that I witnessed are far greater than any paycheck I received.
I want to say a special thank you to my parents, their support kept me going through the long nights and countless hours of no sleep. I also want to give a special shout out to Wayne Smitherman and Walter Sykes, two of Yadkin County’s finest, who read every article I put in the paper and gave me unprecedented football advice.
To each person, athlete, parent, teacher, coach, etc. that I have come into contact with over these six years, thank you. Thank you for supporting the Tribune and the Ripple. Thank you for letting me be part of your kid’s lives. Thank you for helping me live my dream. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll see you guys on ESPN.