Sorry for the hiatus guys: It wasn’t a bug bite this time I promise.
Rather, I’ve been hard at work preparing for the upcoming Fighting Scots’ football season, which kicks off August 17th with a home game against Seventy-First. So be on the look out for this Friday’s edition of the Laurinburg Exchange, because in addition to my daily coverage (I’m looking at you, Scotland volleyball and boy’s soccer), there will be a little something for football fans to read prior to Pate Stadium becoming a mad house that very same evening. I know I’ll be there, will you?
Now back to our regularly scheduled program.
Relocating to towns big and small has become a common practice for me over my years. Whether it’s for personal or professional reasons, I’ve often found myself surrounded by new environments and people, with all of the usual growing pains that come along with such a dramatic change in scenery.
The hardest part of it all, particularly with the smaller towns? Learning the names.
Towns that are smaller in stature are typically like families. Getting to know one another is second nature to the residents, who have grown up and around the same set of people their entire lives. My first goal in any new place is to get to know the people, because to learn their names is to become part of that town.
It’s always an initially daunting process, and it was no different when I arrived in Laurinburg. As I met coaches, players, families and readers alike, I know I likely botched or flat-out forgot the occasional name, the latter usually resulting in a generic “Hey, how are you?” reply to a greeting. If you were one of those people, I apologize, and you have my permission to forget my name should we cross paths again.
But through it all, as I learned about the people, sports rivalries and stories lying at the heart of Scotland County, everyone here has remained very welcoming and supportive. And never did I feel more welcome than this past Saturday morning at Scotland’s first annual youth football camp held at Legion Field.
The story covering that event will be available to read come Friday. But as I stepped foot at Legion Field that morning with my posture slightly dipped due to the huge camera weighing me down, it also marked a first for me in the roughly five months I’ve been here.
For the first time ever, I had my fiance in tow with me that day. And right from the very beginning, familiar faces from Scotland County Parks and Recreation (who helped organize the event) and the community in general approached and welcomed us to the camp. I couldn’t stay and chat because I was focused on the task at hand, but my fiance most certainly had the chance to meet with many of you.
And as we walked back to my car after the hundreds in attendance began to depart that day, my fiance had this to say to me.
“Everybody here in Laurinburg is really nice, I’m glad you took the job here,” she said. And being a former reporter herself, she understands the importance of community support as it pertains to the job description.
So things will now return to normal here at the Exchange, as the beginning of fall sports signals the opening of school doors across the county. And I’ll continue doing all I can to make sure that I fulfill the most important of my job (covering the great athletes here in Scotland) to the best of my ability.
With that being said, I don’t have a closing comment to make about my chubby high school days, my relentless fear of needles or my sports allegiances that some may disagree with.
All I have left to say is thank you. And to keep reading.