Wow, Newton County! It’s hard to believe, but it’s already been a year that we’ve shared our sports journey together.
Honestly, by the time you read this, I’m actually about two weeks late in acknowledging this milestone. Part of that is because I’ve just been so busy trying to get out the stories of some of the most quality student-athletes and athletic programs in metro Atlanta, that I’ve lost track of time.
I remember when it started to become clear that I’d probably get hired on to The Covington News staff, and I remember wondering if, after years of covering multiple counties with dozens of schools, I’d have trouble consistently finding stories to write in an area that has only four schools.
Instead, I’ve encountered the exact opposite problem: I wish we had more print space to publish all of the athletic exploits of the Newton County area!
I’m convinced that I’ve probably missed more stories than I’ve told, only because there are just so many. As hopefully you know by now, this sportswriting career of mine goes far, far beyond the wins and losses, the scores and stats. I’m much more interested in the hearts behind the production.
To me, the hearts are more interesting and impactful.
So while the rest of the world is arguing about this or that, I’m covering stories about how an entire community comes together to support a soft spoken baseball player in the untimely death of his locally well-known father.
Or the one how a budding soccer star has been boosted along by the memory of his deceased father.
Then there’s the story you’ll soon read of how a softball team in Social Circle fell short of its intended goal of making state, but found the unexpected result of truly understanding what it meant to be a family — particularly for its coach.
We’ve been able to chronicle not only the winning of games, matches and championships — often against tough odds — but also the lessons learned from the heartache of losing, injuries and disappointments. These are the kinds of lessons that have no age limit.
Newton County has taught me that there’s no such thing as a place that’s too small, too unknown or too far off the beaten path to experience athletic excellence, not to mention the excellence of hearts who care for each other in the community way beyond the current sports season.
Newton County has also taught me reinforced a lesson about myself that I already knew: It doesn’t take long for me to fall in love with a sports community.
So I’m grateful for my year here. I won’t wax prophetic and try to predict how many years to come I may have here, but I will say that I hope and pray that for however long I’m here, the testimony when I’m gone will be something along the lines of, “Gabriel Stovall helped make Newton County athletics better.”
I can already say that Newton County athletics has made Gabriel Stovall better. And for that, I’m eternally grateful.
Gabriel Stovall is the proud Sports Editor of The Covington News. He can be reached for story ideas and tips at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter also: @GabrielStovall1 and @CovNewsSports.