The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Local Sports

May 2, 2014

The only other times that I have ever been speechless

Sunday, May 4, 2014 — For any of you that know me beyond the pages of the sports section, you know that I have a tendency to talk a lot.

It’s an occupational necessity for Stanly County Monday Night Football, but other than that, I have always been somewhat of a rambler.

However, even yours truly found himself speechless twice in the past two weeks after only being speechless one other noteable time in history.

The second time in my life that I could not say a word was around 8:45 a.m.  on Tuesday, April 22.

As I was working on the Tuesday paper, I received a phone call from Rick Strunk, the associate commissioner for communications from the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.

Usually, I am the one that is calling or emailing him about something regarding playoff or state records or such, but this time he called me to let me know I had been selected for a state award.

You could have knocked me over with a feather.

Everyone in the newsroom looked at me like something was wrong, then I told them the news.

I was shocked and I had no words to describe that feeling.

The other time I was speechless happened on Thursday at the NCHSAA banquet in Chapel Hill.

The banquet was held in the Dean Smith Center, literally on the basketball floor with the numerous championship banners and retired jerseys hanging from the roof.

I have been in the Smith Center before for a Carolina exhibition game with Pfeiffer in 2006, as well as during the Vince Carter years, when I saw Carolina play Princeton.

Looking down, I saw all the tables and chairs along with the awards table for the banquet, knowing that somewhere down there was an award with my name on it and the name of our publication.

I could not speak at all, except to say to myself, “Don’t fall down the stairs.”

A number of people received awards for their contributions to the association, from coaches and athletic directors to school administrators and student-athletes.

Representatives from all around the state were there, including Gray Stone’s John Latimer, who was recognized for his work as a regional representative on the Student-Athlete Advisory Council.

Finally, before a break to let people get final bids in on some great items in a silent auction (I would have loved to have gotten those 25 Redbox rentals), the NCHSAA’s assistant commissioner for sports, Carolyn Shannonhouse, was recognized for her achievements in a touching ceremony on the eve of her retirement.

After the break, commissioner Davis Whitfield gave a report on some of the changes coming next season to high school athletics, some of which were very interesting and warrant a future story or column.

Finally, the state awards were announced, including former Albemarle head coach Phil Padgett, who was named the Harvey Reid Male Coach of the Year.

Then I heard my name and The Stanly News and Press announced over the PA by Mr. Strunk, and I kept thinking one thing as I made my way to the podium.

“Don’t trip!”

That phrase had a dual meaning for me in that I wanted to be calm and not fall flat on my face walking across the stage.

I received the award, had my picture taken and walked off the stage for a group photo.

I have never received any award like that in my life, and again I was speechless and out of breath.

This award means a great deal to myself and my family, but I wanted to positively represent more than just that.

I accepted this award for all of my teachers at both Hayesville High School and Pfeiffer University. Without their guidance, wisdom and (loads of) patience, I would not be where I am at today.

I also accepted this award on behalf of all of the athletes and coaches in Stanly County and beyond that I have covered over the years. Your hard work and efforts are eloquent examples of the benefits of high school athletics for everyone involved.

Finally, I accepted this award on behalf of everyone here at the paper and in Stanly County. I am grateful to be able to report on local sports for all of you, my gentle readers, and I assure you that we are dedicated at the Stanly News and Press to producing the most accurate, fair-minded and interesting newspaper possible.

Thanks for your support.

For the record, the only other time I was speechless was when I saw my beautiful bride walking down the aisle towards myself and the Rev. Clyde Penry at Central United Methodist Church on a special day in 2008. Absolutely beautiful.


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