I’ll never forget the time I spent in Selma
Published 5:27 pm Thursday, June 30, 2016
When I first drove across the Edmund Pettus Bridge last July, I was a young journalist fresh out of the University of Georgia looking for a new adventure and an unfamiliar challenge. For someone who spent a majority of his life growing up around Atlanta, Selma was new to me and certainly something different.
With every new person I met in Selma, however, I became more and more sure that my quick decision to leave my comfort zone in Georgia was the right one. I mean it when I say the nicest people I’ve ever met are right here in Selma.
When I interview the citizens of Dallas County and ask them about what brought them back to Selma, it’s always a similar response. This place is home, and it’s the people who live in Dallas County who make it worth coming back to.
The people here have such a love for this city, much like a college football fan has a love for his or her team. It’s so incredible to see a group of people have such a strong belief in the future of the place they live in.
It’s a small town, but I’ve learned that there is no shortage of extraordinary people in this city who are so passionate about the place they live in. For that reason, I too believe in Selma.
I’ve lost count of the amount of stories I’ve written, I can’t keep track of the amount of pages I’ve designed and I won’t even begin to guess how many photos I’ve taken.
But I can describe the incredible moments I’ve witnessed while covering sports and all the other events here in Selma that has made my time here more than worthwhile. There are so many coaches who put their full effort into not only teaching their players how to excel at the game they teach, but also how to excel at life.
The relationships I’ve built with these coaches are something I won’t take for granted.
Some of my favorite sports moments I’ve covered this past year include the Southside-Keith overtime football game early last fall, Meadowview softball’s inspired state championship victory and the Mee Too Giants’ walk-off comeback win.
In addition to the many relationships I’ve built around sports in Selma, there are many other parts of Selma I won’t forget.
I’ll miss is all the friendly people I’ve encountered at YMCA, witnessing all Selma’s historical events, such as the Bridge Crossing Jubilee and the Battle of Selma, and of course, the taste of Robert Armstrong’s G Mommas cookies.
I’ve been called many different names throughout my time here: Newspaper Guy, Photo Man and The Other Justin (Justin Averette is our editor), to name a few. I’ve enjoyed each nickname, but there’s also plenty of times when people I’ve barely met in Selma know my name and have told me that they enjoyed a story I wrote about them or their children. It means a great deal to me to know that something I wrote made a difference to someone, but it’s more of a credit to the people of Selma for being so open and always having a story to tell.
Exactly 11 months from the first day I drove across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, I will drive back across it to pursue a new challenge, but I couldn’t be more thankful for the memories I’ve made while I was here. I may be leaving, but Selma will always have a place in my heart.