Valley Preps

More than just fun and games

When I joined the staff at the Ledger-Enquirer just over four years ago, in August 2012, I was a 24-year-old kid with big ideas about what I wanted to do with my career.

I was excited to cover high school sports in an area with such a rich history, but my ultimate goal was to make my mark here and move on to covering college or professional sports sooner rather than later.

But then something happened. I met and formed relationships with coaches and players, learned what was important to me and what I was most passionate about. I was passionate about young student-athletes, watching them from a young age learn the game, grow as athletes and, more importantly, grow as human beings.

It was a special position I was in, to be a fly on the wall to witness some great stories unfold in the area.

It’s for that reason that this announcement is so difficult.

My coverage of Northside’s close win over Jordan on Friday at Kinnett Stadium was my last game with the Ledger-Enquirer. I have accepted a position in communications, no longer in sports, at Georgia Tech, where I will continue to tell the stories of young students.

This was a bittersweet decision, one mixed with excitement about what the future holds for my career and sadness at leaving behind such a wonderful community.

Throughout my four-plus years at the Ledger-Enquirer, I have had such a range of experiences that has taught me so much about the Bi-City community.

I’ve witnessed triumph, watching a number of teams win state championships.

I’ve witnessed adversity, watching individuals and programs face incredible odds and find ways to be successful nonetheless.

I’ve witnessed tragedy, presenting the most challenging aspects of my job as a reporter, who must objectively tell a story while struggling to hold my own emotions at bay.

And I’ve witnessed a community come together at the most difficult of times to really underscore why I got into the business of telling stories in the first place.

People always tell me how lucky I have been to watch sports for a living, but that’s not the most satisfying part of my job. I don’t just watch sports, I watch people. In a world full of negativity, in a position such as the one I’ve held for the past four years of my life, you find reason to have faith in everyone.

I can’t express how much I appreciate the friendships and the help I have received from every coach and athlete in this area. There were times, I know, that you weren’t happy with a decision I made (ahem, All-Bi-City), but know that I listened to all of your complaints and took them to heart.

I will watch all of your teams from afar and, now no longer a sports reporter, I can truly become a fan.

Thanks. It’s been fun.

David Mitchell: sports@ledger-enquirer.com

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