I only worked for The Jackson Herald for two and a half years but it felt more like 10. And I mean that totally in a good way.
Crammed into those 30 months were so many dealings with coaches, players and parents — not to mention so many games — that I grew to feel as if I knew this community on a first-name basis.
It’s hard, now, to believe it all passed in such a short span of time.
Last Saturday, my run as The Jackson Herald sports editor ended on the Georgia Dome turf when Jefferson floored defending state champion Calhoun to win the Class AA state football title.
Not only did that game conclude my time at this paper, but it also closed a 14-year career at MainStreet Newspapers (next stop: grad school). Things definitely felt askew as I exited the Dome floor and made my way down the tunnel to collect some final quotes. One last time, doing the one job I’ve ever known.
Back when the fall sports season began, I had no idea such big stories were in store.
But by late October, I was driving down I-85 to Columbus to cover the Jackson County softball team, which concluded its season in the Class AAA final four. What an amazing run.
Then the Jackson County football team qualified postseason for the first time in a generation. The Panthers lost in the first round, but it was a truly remarkable story of revitalization, one that was a privilege to cover.
Then, there was Jefferson’s amazing story. I’m at a loss of words to describe that one.
I resigned my day-to-day duties at The Herald following the Dragons’ second-round win over Westminster in the Class AA playoffs but offered to stay on to cover football “until Jefferson lost.”
Well, that loss never came as the Dragons proved to be a team of destiny. It was an honor to cover a state champion. Honestly, I still can’t believe it all happened. Teams talk all the time about “believing.” Those guys lived it.
It’s those kind of memories I’ll take from working at The Herald.
The rewards of this job are two-fold. First, and most obviously, there are the stories that you’re lucky enough to cover — the kind that captivate the community and take you along for the ride. Then, there’s the rapport of the people you deal with on a weekly basis.
The latter probably means more to me.
I’ll always look back on these two-and-a-half years fondly, and the people have made the difference.
I definitely don’t feel like a stranger anymore.
Ben Munro was sports editor for The Jackson Herald from 2010-2012.
Ben you were easily the best pure writer MSN has seen in many, many years. I hope you continue to write and seek publication in the future. I will always value the time we spent in the newsroom talking sports, and the many times after that when you came to see my teams compete. God's best to you in all that you do from here on.