Community is the word that sticks out in my head while I try to come up with the right way to introduce myself. It’s the word that comes up most in my job interviews. It’s the word I hang on when people ask me why I have returned to north Louisiana after years of traveling and living elsewhere. I launch that word from my mouth usually without full awareness of what it means. It’s been years since I have truly embedded myself into my community.
I grew up in Shreveport. I was a Little Leaguer and a sports junkie like my father, but a creative at heart. After toying with leaving the state for college, I was offered the chance to play basketball as a walk-on at Louisiana Tech. It was close enough to stay in touch with family and friends, and just far enough away from them to be enticing.
I mention Little League because that was my first experience as a part of a real community. When I was ten years old, our team won the state championship. It was the time of my life. We traveled all over the state in cramped minivans and cooled off from blistering summer baseball practices in shoddy motel pools. But we did it as a unit. Not just the players and coaches, but the families, brothers, sisters, moms and friends. They all became part of what made us great. We helped each other in the ways we knew how to help. The moms got together to bake cookies, cheerlead, and wash uniforms. The siblings had the best video games and toys. The dads put pressure on umpires.
As we got deeper into the tournament, everyone knew their role and became part of the team. My mother can tell you more about that tournament than I can, and the reason has to do with being a part of a community. It felt like we all did it together, not just the players. Our community won that Little League state championship, as silly as that may sound.
That feeling is part of the reason I am here now as the new sports editor for the Minden Press-Herald. I’ve been a writer, editor, teacher and coach. I’ve spent years traveling the world and figuring out what I want to do. This position checks all the boxes on my list. Most importantly, I get to be a part of your community. I get to help young people tell stories of their achievements. I get to help them feel important and hopefully have that newspaper cut out to put on their refrigerator.
I get to do that here, in my home, in north Louisiana. I’m looking forward to being a part of your community.