by Aaron Garcia
I’ve got to be honest; I’ve been hoping this day would come for a long time.
This week’s issue of Union County Sports marks my first as Sports Editor; recently I was named Southern Division Sports Editor for Carolina Weekly Newspaper Group, meaning I’ll now be overseeing the sports sections of not only this paper, but the South Charlotte Weekly and the Matthews-Mint Hill Weekly, as well.
But Union County Weekly has always been a little closer to my heart.
When I was brought on as an unpaid intern over four years ago, I instantly became the main contributor for the Union County Weekly Sports section, even though I didn’t know the difference between Parkwood and Piedmont. Since then, I’ve written countless articles on many of the county’s brightest stars and have had the chance to cover the county’s ascent to prominence. When I started, I dedicated a good amount of page space wondering why the county’s top athletes – whose physical attributes would’ve stacked up against nearly anyone – weren’t getting the opportunities their counterparts from other, larger areas were getting.
This year, Union County’s class of 2011 features athletes matriculating to the University of South Carolina, Duke and East Carolina, among many other top-flight athletic programs, so it seems that people outside of our area are starting to recognize the considerable talent within the County.
I wish I could claim responsibilty for even a portion of that progress, but I can’t. Instead, the coaches and the athletes themselves have stepped up their games and have taken away any excuse for not being recognized and recruited, which makes this new position an even bigger honor – and a bigger responsibility.
My hope is to continue the same great coverage we’ve always provided. There won’t be any sweeping, wholesale changes because I believe in the model Managing Editor for Sports C. Jemal Horton has built to this point. I plan to continue producing in-depth feature stories that tell the story behind the box score. Sure, Johnny or Jenny Doe going 4 for 4 at the plate is important, but I want to tell you how Johnny and Jenny got to that point and what makes them tick. I want to explain why and how teams bond together for playoff runs, how athletes overcome hardships. I think there’s a story behind every stat you see, and to me, that’s what makes high school athletics remarkable.
I will be making some tweaks, though. For one, look for a Player of the Week feature in the coming weeks. My hope is to introduce more of our local athletes to you, the Union County Weekly reader. Also, we’re looking at incorporating our popular all-star selections, the Super Teams, next school year to complement our Super 7 rankings, which I also hope to expand from its current status as a football-only ranking.
And of course, we’ll still produce our popular “Football Night in Union” special, which is one of my favorite projects to work on.
Now, it’s your turn. Please tell me what you think, what you’d like to see or what you feel I can do better. I welcome your opinions because the ultimate goal is to give Union County athletes the coverage they deserve. After all, they’ve earned it.
An I’m thrilled to be the one to provide it.