That's me reading my own story in the sports section on the Alabama Gulf Coast 2006.
That’s me reading my own story in the Mobile Press-Register sports section on the Alabama Gulf Coast 2006.

I always wanted to be a Ghostbuster. Somewhere around my 10th birthday, however, I finally admitted that it just wasn’t going to happen. I turned my attention to playing pro basketball, but I never played good defense. Then I dreamed of writing storylines for the WWE.

I certainly could have pursued that last one but instead opted for the next best thing: sports writing.

It’s no secret that I love writing and telling stories. It’s my all-time favorite thing to do. I was the only kid in third grade who could make my poetry rhyme. I won a short story contest in high school that I wrote about alien abductions. In college, I covered the University of Washington football team for three years at the student newspaper.

Not many people get paid to do what they love, and I am extremely thankful for the time I spent in the newspaper business.

Some notable facts about my journalism career:

  • I moved to Mobile, Alabama, immediately after college to cover high school sports in the Deep South. It was the most amazing experience of my professional life. Down south, life’s necessities go in this order: 1) Jesus and 2) football, followed closely by food, air, shelter, and water. And, let’s be honest, depending on the importance of the game we often saw football jump to the top of that list.
  • I was the first daily newspaper writer in the country to profile Julio Jones, who is now a star wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons and one of the NFL’s best players. I first met Julio when he was a freshman at Foley High School. He was the back-up running back then, and he looked like a G.I. Joe compared to everyone else on the team. Every high school sports writer has one kid that goes on to big things at the professional level. My guy is Julio.
  • Somebody I was writing a story about actually threatened to cut my balls off if we ran the piece. We ran it, and thankfully nothing happened. He and his wife managed one of the local youth swimming leagues, and they got caught rigging the system so their team got all the best swimmers. We outed them in the paper with plenty of proof, and he flipped out big time. Note to parents: don’t be that guy. Those kids were 10 years old.
  • I have covered a lot of interesting things besides sports: Mardi Gras parades and hurricanes come to mind. I made it safely through two hurricanes—Ivan and Katrina—both of which decimated the Gulf Coast. I’ll never forget following one of the local high school football coaches back to his house after Hurricane Ivan. We found his wife in the backyard swimming pool digging through sand to find household items. Yeah, their entire swimming pool was full of sand. Incredible.

I don’t work in newspapers anymore, but I will always miss the rush of deadline writing. This website hosts some of my favorite stories from my journalism career. Each of them represents a unique part of my life—little vignettes of who I was and what was happening at the time.

Even now, as I read these stories, I can vividly remember the people, places, and passion that I was so proud to be a part of.

I love sports writing. Thank you for reading!

Derek