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Editorial: Wishing Everyone Happy Holidays As Another Football Season Is In The Books

Wishing Everyone Happy Holidays As Another Football Season Is In The Books Giving Way To Bouncing Basketballs & The Promise Of Another Season As Fall Converts To Winter

Moncks Corner—The longer I live the more I am impressed with the talents and potential of all the prep athletes across the state of South Carolina that my job allows me to interview and watch as they compete in various sports throughout the year.

Honesty, how could you not appreciate and become an instant fan of a player like Zacch Pickens of T.L. Hanna, putting on the pads and smashing his 6-5, 283-pound body into the defenses of the Shrine Bowl in Spartanburg on December 15th. He ran with the strength of a bull loose in a china shop and after the battle he was all smiles sharing a few of his positive thoughts with me.  I say, Great job Mr. Football! Keep making great memories on the gridiron!

I feel blessed in my job to eye witness so many young athletes making memories as they compete for the good of their teams, their communities, coaches, parents, grand- parents, etc. Just stop for a minute and ask yourself how different your life might be if all sudden athletics at all levels didn’t exist anymore. No high school sports, no NFL, NBA and no recreation sports for our children?

Let’s all pray that this never happens. The coaching profession would surely have a huge loss with no one to coach up, no one to nature and mentor for sure. I for one am thankful that athletics and sports participation is a vital part of the over-all educational process. I can’t imagine never having a ball game to go cover.       

Regardless of what sport I might be covering; from the SCHSL volleyball championships, hosted by White Knoll High in early November, to the screaming foot stomping Dillon/Chester football fans, urging their teams own, in the waning moments of a highly competitive AAA finals at Williams-Brice Stadium on December 7 the observances are all good. After all, journalist are born to ask questions, observe, and report on events, and we are best served when we report just the facts.

Even in an open-air 39- degree press box at tiny Patrick Henry Academy in November I relished the opportunity to cover the SCISA 8-man football championship between Andrew Jackson Academy and Beaufort Academy. Allen Sitterle was on the sidelines as the head coach of AJA and Mark Clifford was on the sidelines coaching up Beaufort Academy and after this 42-40 game both teams shook hands and knelt for a joint team prayer at mid-field.

This was one of those rare events that you wished both teams could have won. AJA had a 47- game win streak snapped with the close loss. There were life lessons learned in that game; like in all games. One day a young man playing in that game might become Governor of our state or even the President of the United States for that matter. For having been on that cold and damp field in 39-degree weather playing with everything you had in your inner being certainly prepares you for all future challenges coming in your life.

Can we agree that athletics is like a fire drill preparing us for the teamwork we need to one day become good fathers, wives, mothers, husbands and simply good citizens. We must embrace the young people who participate in athletics and cheer them on win or lose. The scoreboards will be turned off and we will go home to the real world. The process of athletic competition prepares us for the real world and that is something we never turn off going forward.         

As I get older, now at the ripe old age of 64, I am reminded of my old days in high school back in the early 1970’s when we didn’t have cell phones, the internet, and live chat as a means of communication like young kids have now all-across America.  Back in the day a land line telephone and moving about from place-to-place via my feet, were my main means of communication.

In my high school days, I was totally involved in both athletics and in journalism at Summerville and Goose Creek High schools. I wrote for my school newspaper and a couple weekly newspapers while in high school and got paid a little gas money to follow several schools in Dorchester/Berkeley County.  As a former athlete I remember running a 4:50 mile on the Goose Creek track team as a junior and as a sophomore at Summerville High I once scored a career high 10 points as the captain of the Summerville jayvee basketball team as a sophomore in 1970.

 Entering Summerville as a freshman God allowed me to enter the orbit of John McKissick on my very first day of school my freshman year and that meeting would have a profound impact on the rest of my life.  You see I signed up for the Pine Log newspaper that very first day of my freshman year and I my first assignment was to go interview and meet with Coach McKissick. (Yes, I was nervous!)

Numerous people have encouraged me to write a book about the 1.75 million miles I have travelled, the 100,000 people I have met face-to-face, and the nearly 3,000 events I have attended in person over the past 32 years covering the efforts and good work of thousands of young people and their coaches throughout South Carolina. Wherever I visit I look forward to talking to the dedicated coaches, athletes, school administrators, parents and fans. In the state of South Carolina. We are very family oriented and the achievements of our children are right at the top of things to celebrate.

With Christmas just, a few days away we at the HSSR extend Best Wishes and Happy Holidays to one and all! Godspeed to all!

P.S. Our football all-state teams will be announced on our website at hssr.com on Sunday December 23rd at 6 p.m. The rest of the fall all-state teams will be announced one week later. The annual all-state awards banquet will take care once again at Seawells in February. 


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