I can’t believe that tomorrow is Thanksgiving and we are in the home stretch of 2012.
My seasons of life as a sports writer are once again coming full circle; in a little more than a month, I celebrate my 12th anniversary covering Okaloosa County sports.
Whether looking back on the last 12 months or the last 12 years, I can find plenty for which to give thanks.
I am thankful for the family members, friends, pastors, teachers and mentors who have helped shape my life and encouraged me to chase my dream. I’m thankful for newspapers in Tennessee, Georgia and Florida that have allowed me to pursue that dream for close to 20 years.
I’m thankful for sports and how they have shaped my life on and off the field. I appreciate the competitive fire my high school coaches ignited that has instilled a “want to” deep in my being. It allows me to push through and get the job done.
Since my dream was to write sports, I’m thankful for the thousands of athletes I’ve had the opportunity to cover through the years. I’ve been fortunate enough to watch and write about high school athletes who went on to play at the highest college level and even the highest professional ranks of their respective sports.
I recently got a big kick out of watching former Crestview football player Chris Pickett, now a Troy University defensive back, play my college alma mater, Tennessee, on TV. I should mention that I’m thankful too that the Trojans didn’t pull off the upset as it’s been a tough season to be a Volunteer fan.
As a sports writer, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some of the ball players and coaches I have admired the most. I’d be lying if I said all of them made a favorable impression on me, but I’ve found most to be gracious with their time and patient with me as I’ve asked the same questions they had been asked hundreds of times before.
Sometimes, I’m writing on deadline and question why I’m so thankful for this job and the sanity of anyone who would dare try to turn a 400- to 500-word game story in 30-45 minutes. And to be honest, sometimes I wonder how much my job matters in the grand scheme of things — after all, I’m just covering high school sports.
I’ve had the answer to those questions countless times from kind words of a parent or grandparent following a game, or when somebody takes the time to send me an email or make Facebook posts telling me how much it means to them to see me at a game or how they will treasure a story I’ve written.
I’m thankful for the kind words that assure me that I have made a small difference just by doing my job.
Yes, today, and every day, it isn’t hard to find things for which I can give thanks — so with a heart full of joy, I wish you all a very happy and safe Thanksgiving.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524