Farewell, Queen City

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Selma Times-Journal

All right, sportsfans, it’s official.

My tenure here in the Queen City has come to a close. I’ve left The Selma Times-Journal to take a job as the Managing Editor of the Demopolis Times, effective Thursday.

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I can hear some of the jokes now: The profit margin at The Restaurant at Grumbles Alley is going to drop. Popeye’s is going to have a stockpile of spicy chicken strips.

For the past 14 months, I have truly been one of the luckiest sports guys in the state.

I have had the opportunity to watch some of the best athletes, coaches and fans. Whoever replaces me will have the opportunity to see programs that were on the rise continue to get better. That person will also have the opportunity to deal with some of the most professional, knowledgable and fun coaches to be around.

Sportsfans, don’t get it twisted, though – don’t think that I’m up and running out the door. This is a decision that I wrestled with.

Fourteen months ago, when I found out that my new address was going to be Selma, you couldn’t have loaded the U-Haul quick enough. But now, after I’ve been here, it’s tough to leave.

While this city, like most others, does have problems – socially and politically – the one place where all that was put aside was on the field of competition.

For the first time, I have had a state champion in nearly every sport.

Morgan won its umpteenth state championship in football.

Morgan’s volleyball team shocked everyone, including yours truly, with a run to the state championship game.

Marion Military Institute battled it out with Lowndes Academy to take home the golden basketball and the AISA’s women’s basketball crown.

R.C. Hatch, in a feat reminiscent of Morgan’s stranglehold on Class AAA football, won another state championship, giving it the record for most titles and some key underclassmen more bling to wear to school.

Lowndes Academy took home the Class A baseball and softball crowns to complete the sweep.

I also had the opportunity to watch the Women’s College World Series-bound Crimson Tide softball team dethrone the Stanford Cardinal.

I saw my Troy Trojans stand toe-to-toe with the UA baseball team in the Tuscaloosa regional.

But before I say goodbye to my adopted home, there are some things that I want to address.

This fall, there will be several questions for football teams to answer.

Think about it, Dallas County has had its third head coach in as many years, and this year’s crop of Hornets have a lot to prove. They are in a new region, and they have the opportunity to make some noise and prove a multitude of detractors wrong.

How will the Morgan football team react after losing

21 of 22 starters and 25 seniors? Will a return trip to Troy be a reality, or are the Senators going to be stuck spending Thanksgiving with the parents watching bowl games and reading about the playoffs?

Have the Hatch Bobcats already booked their tickets to Birmingham at season’s end?

How much tougher will the new “Marion Schools” be this fall with new faces and playing in a new class? Is this Meadowview’s year to finally play host to a playoff game, or will it once again load up the Trojan-wagon and go road trippin’ in the first round?

Will the City Council and the County Commission ever come to their senses and realize just how stupid it is to argue over a tower? Or is it going to take a visit from the Daily Show crew?

Unfortunately, these are questions that I am leaving my replacement to answer. I hope that you guys and gals in the Queen City extend to him the same courtesy that you have to me in my short time here. To my coaches, I was planning on having the opportunity to visit some of you and tell you face-to-face before my column ran, but due to circumstances out of my control, I won’t be given that luxury.

You guys are great, and I will be in Demopolis cheering you on. Who knows? I may pop in to a game from time to time just to check on your season.

So, for the last time, Queen City:

It’s that simple.