Last Tuesday night, I covered the Newton High School softball senior night where it honored its five seniors after the game.
The Lady Rams won 10-0 over South Gwinnett to help celebrate the occasion.
However, there was a moment between the final out and the first senior’s recognition that was truly heart-warming.
Newton asked the seniors from South Gwinnett to meet its seniors at home plate for a presentation. Then, one by one, I saw D’Myia Jackson, Hayden Pearson, Sidney Lindsey, Katelynn Anglin and Chasidah Parker present the opposition’s seniors with a special gift.
South Gwinnett’s seniors were overjoyed and thanked Newton for thinking of them on “their night.”
After Newton’s seniors were recognized, I spoke to head coach Virginia Tucker-Smith about how the idea came about and I was even more impressed.
She told me that her team was on the receiving end of a surprise when Locust Grove hosted them for senior night. From there, Smith said her and the assistant coaches decided to make it a tradition for them.
It may sound like a small gesture, but it wasn’t. They delivered a memorable moment for not only South Gwinnett, but for me as well.
There’s always been something sacred about senior night and Newton reemphasized the significance of the occasion last week.
Because, when the moment occurred, my mind instantly went back to last year during the climax of the pandemic that stole a lot of teams’ and players’ senior nights. How devastating that was for the athletes I was covering at the time. I’m sure it ruined a lot of seniors’ final season in Covington, too.
Senior night gives every athlete a moment to just embrace the love and admiration from the school, community and coaches.
That was taken away for most athletes last year.
As a result of cancelling so many senior nights last year, I started a podcast that featured local senior athletes. It’s called “The Senior Spotlight.”
So, when I was in my car leaving Newton’s senior night, I thought about that podcast. And, by the time I arrived home, I ultimately decided to resume the podcast to feature Covington-based student-athletes in their senior season.
So, in the coming weeks, be on the lookout for that podcast, because I’ll be producing episodes very soon. Also, if you’re a senior athlete who wants to be on the podcast, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to showcase every single senior in the area, but I would love to chat about as many high school careers as I can.
Phillip B. Hubbard is sports editor for The Covington News. Reach him at email@example.com.