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What a week, what an honor

One week has passed since I assumed the sports editor position at The Valley Times-News. What a week it has been.

I have met school administrators, coaches, athletes and community members from across the Greater Valley Area. All have been exceptionally welcoming.

I also have heard from a few readers offering their encouragement and suggestions in regard to my new endeavor. Thank you for the comments; they are always welcome.

Additionally, I was able to cover a few games last week in this new role. That included Friday night’s matchups between LaFayette and Lanett. Even though I am new to the area, it did not take me long to learn about this storied rivalry.

Prior to the games, I was told about the electric atmosphere that would greet me at LaFayette High School. The night lived up to the hype.

Fans filled the bleachers to capacity on both sides of the floor. Spectators who arrived too close to tipoff lined the rails along the gym’s second floor. The LaFayette pep band roared during timeouts as the Dog Palace sprang to life.

The on-court action did not disappoint, either. Lanett’s girls erased an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter to claim a dramatic victory, and Lanett’s boys pulled away to win a physical contest.

Aside from providing me with compelling story material, the night gave me a glimpse into how much this area values its athletics. One coach told me that games like Friday’s unite communities in a way few other events can. There’s so much history, so much passion, so much pride.

It was evident in both atmosphere and conversation.

During my time at LaFayette, I spoke with a number of folks in attendance. All were alumni who had returned to their alma mater to watch the game.

One had served as a manager on the Bulldogs 2015 state title team, and he sported a glimmering championship ring on his finger.

I asked him what it meant to be a part of the program at its shining moment. In short, he called it an honor.

The answer was simple but revealing. Athletics hold special meaning to people in the Greater Valley Area.

I consider it an honor to cover them.

 

Sam Chandler is sports editor of The Valley Times-News and can be reached by email at sam.chandler@valleytimes-news.com or by phone at 334-644-8106.