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Follow me as I follow Jesus

Coming up to Bat

The following is my first column as Sports Editor for the Murray State News:
In the big leagues, stepping up to bat for the first time has to be scary. You’re anxious, excited, intimidated and maybe a little queasy. 
That’s how I feel about becoming sports editor; it’s as if I’m coming up to bat for the first time and am trying to remember everything I learned in training. 
As I pick up my bat, which is more like a pencil, and head to the plate, which is more like a desk, my mind
reflects on all the people who have helped me reach this position.
Images of my general managers, my mom and dad, float through my mind. If it hadn’t been for them and their
encouragement I never would have made it this far. They are the best coaches I could have ever asked for and I am so thankful for their counsel, wisdom and example.
The photographs in my mind keep cycling as the pre-game jitters continue to work their way through my system. The role of trainer has been filled by Greg Waddell, whose encouragement, patience and guidance has set the foundation for my time on this team. I’m so grateful for his leadership and friendship which has been influential and instrumental in my development and growth.
As I approach the batter’s box, I remember all the time spent in preparation and visions flood my mind of teachers, mentors and friends who make up the coaching staff that has propelled me to this moment.
The walk to the plate seems unusually long as I remember the reason I fell in love with the game of sportswriting in the first place. With words one can capture so fully the raw emotions of a moment in life, the triumph and thrill of victory and the bitter taste of defeat. It has become a passion and a source of adrenaline; I love every part of it. 
Before reaching home plate I look back to the dugout and see the team, comprised of my classmates, peers and fellow staff members from The News. The team offers support, accountability and motivation to persevere even under the most difficult of circumstances. The team pushes you to find a way to win when it seems impossible, to pursue excellence with diligence and to exemplify the characteristics of a champion
at all times. For them I am exceedingly grateful. 
My mind drifts back a few moments when I was in the dugout, waiting to be called to play. Despite the lulls in the game, I enjoyed viewing the game from that perspective. There was a level of safety and ease found in being surrounded by teammates and endless cups of Gatorade.
This new perspective, however, forces me out of my comfort zone and into the exciting world of responsibility
and pressure. Accompanied with that, is the overwhelming fear of letting the team down. Despite the fear, excitement is creeping in my system as my long-held dream of being a sports journalist becomes reality.
Suddenly aware of the crowd, I glance at the faces filling the stadium. Countless people who have impacted my life smile their encouragement and I draw confidence just from their presence. I see my sister and her husband, as well as Kaitlin, Loree and so many others whose footprints on my heart will never be replaced or forgotten. I am so thankful each of you are a part of my life.
However, it is my owner, God, who has my biggest thanks, for it is He who bought me with a price and added me to His eternal team. It is an honor to play for Him.
The journey to the plate is almost complete. As I take the last few steps one goal resonates within me: to  represent my owner and team of Racers well. I may foul and strike out a few times along the way, but I vow to myself and the team to always give the very best effort possible and to share my passion of sports,  particularly Murray State sports, the Olympics and the St. Louis Cardinals, to the best of my ability. 
The slideshow in my head is finished and the nerves have started to subside. Excitement is taking over and a calm spirit has settled within me. My cleats are firmly planted in the dirt and I raise the bat and look to the
pitcher. He takes a sign and throws. I see the ball well and swing hard.
This is going to be a great season.
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