Column: A lot has happened in 10 years

By W. BRIAN HALE, Eagle Sports Writer
Posted 4/2/20

Ten years ago I walked through the doors of the Eagle for the first time as a full-fledged employee.

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Column: A lot has happened in 10 years

Posted

Ten years ago I walked through the doors of the Eagle for the first time as a full-fledged employee.

It’s incredible to look back at the past decade at the DME and realize how much things have changed....while some things have remained the same.

I started out in the news department, covering beats in Dora, Parrish, Oakman and Carbon Hill, along with lending a hand in other areas before moving to sports in late 2011. 10 years later, I’m back in the news department for the most part, with athletic events in the world effectively neutralized.

What really broke me in and certified me as a journalist was the terrible tragedy that came exactly a year into my career — the April 27 tornadoes in 2011. I could easily replay that entire day in my memory, it was a defining moment for all of us as a state. Now here we are back in the middle of historic moment for us not only as a state, but as a nation as a whole and the coronavirus plague looms ever-present in our lives.

Along the way I’ve watched a change in governors, both due to election and scandal; local mayors, council members, county commissioners and state representatives come and go — covering many of those races over the years. In sports, as we all know, change is a way of life. There’s been a lot.

Bevill State athletics shut down, restarted and is flourishing once again — with the Bears most recent sports accomplishment being a run in the ACCC Tournament last month after a very successful season.

I’ve been on hand to watch several state championships won — one in basketball and several in wrestling and softball. Those are some of my favorite memories, watching the young men and women who I’ve covered for years experiencing championship glory  after so much hard work and dedication. Softball really stole my heart, I freely admit. Since I’ve worked at the Eagle, I have covered six state championship teams and numerous programs who have earned postseason honors. I’ve watched girls go on to the next level, playing in the SEC, ACC and other conferences. I’ve forged wonderful relationships with our area coaches, players — some of which have delightfully called me “Uncle Brian” — and their families. It’s brought me a lot of joy.

The Eagle has changed a lot in these past 10 years, not only in the way it looks but who inhabits the office now as well. Of those of us who occupy the newsroom, only myself, sports editor and my cohort in crime Johnathan Bentley and features/magazine editor Jennifer Cohron are left. Our leadership has changed — James Phillips was managing editor and hired me back in 2010. After a stint as a publisher in Mississippi, he’s thankfully returned as our publisher. We now have a full-fledged social and video media component we’ve added, which includes shows and audio broadcasts.

There’s some awards that line the wall next to my desk — hopefully more will come — along with some great reminders of things I’ve been a part of over the years.

On a personal level, well what can I say? I’ve watched my eldest daughter Lexi, two years-old when I started at the DME, grow up to be a spectacular young lady. In 2017 we welcomed our youngest, Annalee, into our family....the world hasn’t been the same since. All the while, my wife Christie has been there as a rock and showing extreme patience when life as a journalist pulls me into very long hours.

Adapting to change is essential to life as a journalist — news or sports — and to life in general. You don’t have to like it, but you certainly have to adapt. What changes could we all see in the next 10 years — who knows? Hopefully, whatever changes the next decade brings, it will find us happy, healthy and valuing what means the most to us — the people who have had and continue to impact our lives in a positive way.

———

W. Brian Hale is the sports writer for the Daily Mountain Eagle. He can be reached at brian.hale@mountaineagle.com.