As the saying goes, my how time flies. It seems like just yesterday when the publisher of The Glengarry News, JT Grossmith, took a chance on hiring a new sports editor, someone with no journalism experience or training – me!
The year was 2005, and I had seen the job advertisement in the newspaper – of course – and thought I would apply. I knew I loved to write, and I thought I was decent at it, having graduated from university with a B.Sc. and gone on to a teaching career that lasted eight or nine years before I realized I needed to be doing something else. I also knew I loved sports, but could I survive (and thrive) as a journalist?
I swear Grossmith hired me on a whim, expecting I wouldn’t last long. However, I stuck it out, taking his tutelage and growing into the role as a journalist, a photographer, and an editor.
I also relied heavily on our then copy editor, Diane Bedford, with whom I had regular debates over proper word usage, and succeeding publishers – I am on my third now, fourth if you count Grossmith’s second stint at the helm.
Over the decade since I was hired, I have written hundreds of stories about every sport imaginable, about an array of county athletes, and about numerous sporting events.
So what are the highlights as I look back on my 10 years at The News?
Well, certainly among these has been seeing (and following) young Glengarry athletes grow from kids to pursuing their dreams at the highest levels.
I think about Williamstown’s Michael Robertson, who I first wrote about as a 16-year-old member of the Char-Lan junior B Rebels hockey team and a burgeoning track athlete. He went on to pursue short-distance running at the University of Ottawa and as a member of Team Canada, with whom he still competes.
And then there’s soccer star Christina Julien. I recall writing about her collegiate exploits south of the border which led to her role with Team Canada and competition in events around the world. She’s gone on to play the beautiful game professionally, currently in Europe.
Or how about these hockey names: Remi Elie, Tylor Spink, Tyson Spink, Jonathan Jasper, and Kent McDonell?
Or CIS (Canadian university) athletes like Eric Neilsen, Meaghan MacDougall, Kelsey Thomson, and Kevin Aleinik?
Over the years, these names, and many others, have frequently made the sports pages of the county’s community newspaper.
Then there are the quotes – a slew of memorable quips from all sorts of Glengarry sports people. My favourite has to be “stupidity in stripes,” which came from a junior hockey team’s general manager frustrated by the officiating in a game. The GM was suspended by the league for his utterance. Power of the press?
One of the greatest challenges of my job has been deciding what to cover – what I can cover – both in terms of time available and space in the newspaper itself.
The growth of our online presence (particularly www.sportsintheglens.ca) has allowed me (and The News) to extend our coverage beyond the printed page, and I expect this will continue to grow in the future as we expand our offerings to Glengarry through websites and mobile apps.
Ten years have indeed flown by! I hope with all my heart that the readers of The News have enjoyed my sports coverage over this stretch as much as I have revelled in attending events and writing about them, meeting athletes, and telling their stories.
Here’s to another glorious sporting decade ahead!