I never thought the one column I’d write for Highlands Today would be my swan song.
But as an esteemed co-worker once told me, “so it shall be written, so it shall be done.”
My career at the paper was short, but expansive. Not far removed from college, and with only a year’s worth of writing experience, my first assignment sent me to the baseball fields of Lake June Ball Park.
There I learned just how dedicated Highlands County is to its youth sports. The parents and coaches are the most enthusiastic group I’ve ever seen. Whether they came from Avon Park, Sebring, or Lake Placid, it was obvious they cared deeply about the kids.
When the high school season rolled around, that sentiment carried over. The coaches were just as involved on the playing fields as they were in the classroom. And in a world where academics continue to take a backseat to sports, that’s very admirable.
My list of thank you’s is too long for the space allotted. But I want to start with giving a big thanks to Highlands Today for taking a chance on someone so green. I wouldn’t have gotten my foot in the door if not for them. Everyone here is amazing, and they all work hard everyday to produce a quality product.
The same goes for all the coaches, athletes, teachers, and athletic directors I met along the way. It seemed like they never took a night off. Every coach or athlete I met with after the game, win or lose, was always gracious. They made my job, and thus getting coverage of the kids, that much easier.
There are a few people, though, who deserve special recognition: Charlotte Bauder (the first coach to use my name and not “newspaper man”), Mike Lee, Terry Quarles, Whit Cornell, Marty O’Hora, Pam Farr, Princeton Harris, Scott Morgan, LaVaar Scott, Alesia Cheshire, Chet Brojek, John Merlo, Tom Creel, Rick Hitt, Jasone DeWitt, Jane Hollinger, Jeff Cantwell, Patrick High, Ken Breslauer, Renee Crenshaw, Cynthia Cook, Blake Germaine, Shane Wirries, Jackie Coyne, Josh Miller and James Ashley.
Each of you works extremely hard to make the Heartland a focal point for excellence, both in sports and life.
I wish the very best to the student athletes, as well. From what I’ve seen, the Heartland has a sterling reputation for hard work breeding success. I know that legacy will only continue to grow.