Andalusia, county will stay with me forever

Published 12:03 am Thursday, October 23, 2014

Swimming in the icy-cold water, Harry Potter repeatedly told his professor, Albus Dumbledore, that everything would be all right in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

“We’re nearly there….I can Apparate us both back….Don’t worry,” Potter said.

“I am not worried, Harry,” Dumbledore said. “I am with you.”

To borrow from Rowling’s sixth novel in the series, let me just say that Andalusia and its surrounding communities will be with me for the rest of my life.

I am excited to report that I will be the next managing editor at The Greenville Advocate, and Friday will serve as my last day as the sports editor of The Star-News.

For some days now, I’ve been trying to figure out what to say. Words have come and gone, but there’s been a constant — thank you.

Thank you to all of the coaches, parents, players, sports coordinators and instructors who helped make my life a lot easier these past six-and-a-half years.

When I was first hired at The Star-News, I started out as a general assignment reporter. That changed a little more than a year later when I became the sports editor here.

I think about that first year quite often. I remember standing there during a mid-May day at Lagoon Park, watching two of our local softball teams compete at the state tournament in Montgomery.

From that moment on, this job became fun. To this day, it still is.

Different sports memories have been flooding back to me over the past week or so.

Those who stood out include Straughn and Pleasant Home’s runner up finishes in softball; Andalusia’s boys and girls basketball teams making it to the state finals (the Lady Bulldogs did so in 2012, finishing runner up); the Tigers and Andalusia’s semifinals runs in 2011 and 2014, respectively; Straughn’s semifinal berths in football in 2012 and 2013; SHS girls’ second-straight state-tournament appearance in basketball; the 2013 Babe Ruth Baseball 16-18 World Series last summer; along with many, many more.

I have been blessed beyond measure to be able to experience what’s crossed my eyes.

Yeah, there’ve been heartache losses, big wins and just all-out dog fights.

I’ve enjoyed covering each and every one of them.

I am also excited to announce that Josh Dutton, an Andalusia native, will take my place as sports editor of The Star-News.

You may have recognized his name as he has been a stringer (a hired helping hand) for us for many football/baseball seasons.

I know that he’ll do a great job covering local sports here.

With that, I bid all a hearty farewell and just know, that a piece of Andalusia and Covington County will be with me forever.