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COLUMN: Back to the Ball Park

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By Jeff Moreland

When somebody’s on the job, you can often take them for granted. When they’re away, you quickly notice what they did, and you appreciate them even more.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve had two Springfield Sun staff members on vacation, and I’ve gotten a refresher course in all that they do.

Brandon Mattingly, editor of The Sun, was out last week. I was kept busy in his absence, trying to  write some of the news stories he would have covered, as well as taking photos at Washington County’s Distinguished Young Woman competition. I’ve done all of those things before, but after being out of the field for a bit, I must admit I was a little busier than I remembered being.

This week, John Overby is on vacation, and I’m trying to do his job while he’s gone. Boy, does this ever bring back memories!

About 20 years ago, when I got my start in journalism, I was fresh out of college and doing some work for my hometown newspaper. I was able to get my foot in the door by doing the same thing I’ve been doing this week, which was covering some of our community’s young athletes as they played baseball and softball in summer tournaments.

I remember those days fondly because they opened the door to my career.

I learned a long time ago, but was reminded in John’s absence, that while it’s a lot of fun to attend games and watch the local kids playing their hearts out, (which they did all weekend) there’s a lot of work to it, and much of that couldn’t be done without the cooperation of coaches, players, parents and others who help us get the information we need. If we didn’t get their help, covering local sports would be much more difficult, if not impossible. I know that first-hand, and I’ve spent time working with all of those folks in the past few days, and you’ve made my job as a pinch-hitter for John much easier.

John will be back next week, and I’ll be back on the sidelines, but my chance to pinch-hit on the sports pages has been fun, and I even realized that I missed it!