There is a photograph of me floating around in my parents’ wallets and deep in their Facebook pages. I had bright red curly hair, fat cheeks and I’m dressed in full Dallas Cowboys’ attire.
That photo haunts me to this day.
What it proves is the undying love for football I have experienced since birth.
Whether it’s the Cowboys, the Racers, Notre Dame or the newly formed McCracken County Mustangs, I follow and support with vigor.
Something about football, something about the game and the thrill of watching a touchdown pass in what feels like slow motion is enlivening.
My brother, Levi, plays for McCracken County in Paducah, Ky., and I don’t know how many times I’ve bored my friends telling them about his accomplishments.
As the sophomore junior varsity captain and varsity second-string linebacker, Levi has worked hard and his family has supported him every step of the way.
Recently, I covered McCracken County’s first home football game for Paducah Life Magazine. The beginning of an era, local newspapers called it.
It most definitely was.
I can’t begin to describe the rush of keeping statistics, live-tweeting games or trying to remember exactly what the consequence is of a given penalty.
I loved running down the bleachers in the fourth quarter from the press box, going out onto the sidelines and quickly forming interview questions before the last quarter ended.
All I know is, it’s my dream job.
It’s never mattered to me how much of a difference the score is, whether I drove to Trigg County and took photographs in 20-degree weather.
What mattered was the overwhelming happiness I experienced when I read through my story the next day.
It’s a surreal experience, and for some reason writing news hasn’t led me to the same place very many times.
I know I’ve had success in writing news and I know I’ll probably do well down the road.
And I don’t dislike it – but every time I even attend my brother’s games I’m reminded how different it would be to focus on sports.
I was overwhelmingly jealous of fellow reporters at The Tennessean, where I interned over summer.
While I attended press conferences, they were attending Tennessee Titans practices.
They reported on how well Jake Locker was predicted to play in the upcoming season.
They even asked questions no one else would after four Vanderbilt football players were kicked off the team.
I know I may never be a sports writer down the road, or ever continuously cover football as a beat.
But if somehow, I could even string one game a season, I would be happy.
A quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald sums it up perfectly.
“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be.
“There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing.”
Story by Lexy Gross, Editor-In-Chief