Bringing the curtain down on five wonderful years in Vicksburg

Published 11:30 am Thursday, February 20, 2014

I remember my first job in this business like it was yesterday, even if more than a decade has passed.

At the Mobile Press-Register in my hometown of Mobile, Ala., I got a job as a humble correspondent writing for $35 per story as a second job while attending the University of South Alabama.

To quote former Warren Central coach Lucy Young, you would’ve thought I’d hung the moon. My friends and family were amazed to see my byline in ink. I’d made it to the big time. I covered everything from wrestling to high school football. I worked the desk, answering calls and writing game capsules.

It was the first step.

I graduated from the University of Alabama, then worked at newspapers in Georgia, Florida and Mississippi before arriving here on Halloween 2008. I’ve seen great wins, gut-punching losses and all points in between. I’ve learned so much and met so many amazing coaches, athletes and parents who were generous with their time and help. I’ve traveled to all points of the compass and survived getting lost, mechanical maladies (had to limp 150 miles home in Georgia on barely-working brakes in the middle of deer season at night), computer issues and finding a decent WiFi signal to send my story.

Now, it’s time to seek a different challenge. To follow a new destiny that won’t involve Friday nights under the lights, warm, sweaty gyms in the dead of winter that seemingly come alive with every dribble of the basketball and the easy rhythm of softball and baseball fields in the glorious days of spring.

Most of my adult life, I’ve marched to two beats: the seasons of sports and the liturgical calendar. Now, only the latter will be heard.

There are so many things to miss about this wonderful time in my life.

The adrenaline rush of making deadline and putting out a great sports section on a football Friday night will be missed. Putting out the yearly football section will also be something else to miss. So will keeping score at baseball and softball games.

The best is seeing the emotion that comes from joyous victory and defeat. It’s so gratifying in this age of endless distractions that wins and losses still mean something to those who make it happen.

It’s hard to believe that comes to an end. But everything, no matter how good, must reach a finale. It’s the truth of our existence.

That’s not to say we don’t wax nostalgic about times past, but living in the past renders one blind to the present and unaware of the future.

The final buzzer has sounded on what has been a great ride. I wish you all fair winds and following seas.

Steve Wilson can no longer be reached by email. He thanks all of you for reading his column for the past five-plus years.