Thanks to all the athletes

During my three years of employment in the News and Sentinel sports department I have given a shoutout to parents and defended coaches, however, there is another group responsible for a large portion of our sports coverage every morning throughout the calendar year I never talked about — The student-athletes.

Oh sure we have individual features, team and game stories, but I don’t think the combined group has been recognized.

All your hard work and success on and off the court are what people in the community want to read about and it is our job to make sure they can.

In short …. thank you.

Thank you for taking time after a match or game to chat with us a few minutes so we can get your perspective on a recently concluded contest be it a win or loss. Being a super competitve person myself, I rarely want to be bothered after a defeat but you athletes handle it with grace and not frustration.

We appreciate you setting your personal lives aside a few more minutes for the quick chat.

Even though you may be nervous at times or don’t want to talk (a certain basketball team at the state tournament), your quotes are well thought out and serve as springboards for stories at times.

Believe it or not, writer’s block affects journalists too. There have been several times I begin a story with a quote because it captures the theme of the game or interview.

Thank you for taking the time to chat with us when you see us in public. I admit I sometimes forget athletes have lives off the court because it is where I am most accustomed to seeing them and it can be awkward at times to place a face.

However, a quick nod or short conversation zaps away the awkwardness immediately.

I can’t tell you the number of times my fiance and I are out in public and I run across a student-athlete. I always explain who you are and where I know you from afterwards. It is pretty cool knowing so many people … I must admit.

The Blennerhassett Hotel during the Mothers’ Day brunch comes to my mind immediately.

One quick story though the athletes will remain annonymous.

I ran into two sportsters from rival schools together at Outback Steakhouse during basketball season. We made eye contact and chatted for a brief time before their table was ready.

As it turned out, we had an inside joke the rest of the year as date night happened to fall on the eve of a particularly big game for one of the athletes.

His team captured a huge victory the next evening, with him making several big shots with time short in the game. During the postgame interview (how could he not be one of the people talked to), I joked date night should come every night before big games for good luck.

He chuckled and we continuted the interview. I also mentioned it to his lady friend when next I saw her and we laughed about it as well.

Thanks to all the seniors who took the time to talk to us, on the phone or in person, about making a collegiate decision, or those who opened up their lives for feature stories.

This isn’t the last you will hear from us.

We will follow your future, albeit from afar.

Contact Joe Albright at jalbright@newsandsentinel.com

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