Out Here in Left Field

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 30, 2007

This won’t surprise most of you who have gotten to know me over the years, but I’m not exactly an outdoorsman.

When I see questionnaire’s asking if I would prefer a night at a five-star hotel or camping in the wilderness, the answer for me is simple: give me the hotel any day.

That was somewhat of an adjustment for me when I became Sports Editor of this publication more than three years ago. We have made a practice of running what I not-so-affectionately refer to as “dead things.”

Those of you familiar with the sports section probably know the type of thing I’m referring to. They are first kills or big deer or something caught out of the ocean.

My initial reaction was that I didn’t want to run them in the newspaper. I discussed my reservations with Cal Bryant (Editor) and then-Publisher Jeff Findley.

To their credit, neither of them told me I had to do anything. I wasn’t coerced at all, but was reminded of how important those types of things could be to a local newspaper.

I relented and we continued publishing those types of pictures and notices. That was more than three years ago and since then we have seen every variety of animal and fish that could be printed, I believe.

I also had the opportunity to go over and cover the end of a turkey hunt sponsored by the Rich Square Volunteer Fire Department.

The reason this is on my mind, I supposed, is because of a conversation I had earlier today with our new publisher, David Sullens. As we talked about my role here and how it had developed, this is an area I pointed to of growth in the business for me.

See, I still don’t actually like to see the dead animals. I could do without them. What I do like it the response we have gotten from people as we have published those pictures.

I have learned that people enjoy seeing their own pictures in the newspaper for what they have accomplished and not everyone plays what we refer to as a sport.

Hunting and fishing are sports, but not of the normal variety. Those people deserve a place in the newspaper too.

Today, there is a picture of a 10-year-old boy with his first big Blue Marlin. While I may not have any interest in catching one, even I enjoyed seeing the picture.

The moral of the story, I suppose, is that you can learn something new if you’re willing to listen to people who have more experience than you do. I certainly learned that Cal was right in this situation.

So, those of you who are planning on a big fishing weekend this summer, make sure you take your cameras. We’ll be glad to show the Roanoke-Chowan region how well you did when you return.

Questions? Comments? Snide remarks? All are welcome.

You can reach me at thadd.white@r-cnews.com or call me at 332-7211.

Be careful out there and be good sports.