Returning to my roots…

Some will be surprised; others will be shocked, and a few will jump for joy by this announcement…. a few already have heard the news and now I feel compelled to tell the rest of you that for a number of weeks now I’ve been making plans to return to Indiana. The return is not a visit, but rather a permanent move back to be near my parents. They are aging and while I’ve made many friends, developed a very profitable business, and fostered a number of deep professional contacts in Missouri it is time to go home – family is the most important thing we have.

It was the summer of 2001 with my belongings packing in a U-haul that I set off cross country on an adventure – moving from Indiana to Missouri taking a job in a new location with my employer in a small town where I knew no one. In 2005 there was an ad in the paper seeking a sports photographer for the weekly newspaper in St. James.

I’d been shooting for a number of years just for fun, and I answered the ad not expecting anything to come of it. A call from the papers editor several days later actually caught me by surprise. He was very interested in meeting and discussing my starting as quickly as possible to cover local sports.

Some 13 years, and nearly 300,000 images later I’ve quite the collection of images of athletes from Cuba, St. James, Rolla, Sullivan, Union, Waynesville, Salem and other small towns all up and down I-44. Some of those athletes went on to various colleges achieving varying degrees of success; while others simply entered the workforce or the military. Some of the images don’t wow the viewer and others record momentous events in local sports history – all tell a story to some degree though.

The number of events I will be covering is decreasing steadily as the winter sports season wanes and the spring season begins. The time is coming rather quickly when another U-haul packed with my belongings will be traveling the interstates – though this time heading eastward.

Over the years I’ve captured many emotion filled images. From the grandmother sitting in the stands with her fists clenched in her lap as her grandson stood at the freethrow line with the game in balance; the mother and father kneeling beside their son on a football field laying after a head shaking hit; a girls basketball team crying after advancing in the state tourney several years at Springfield; and wrestlers smiling from ear to ear after medaling at the state wrestling championships.

I have to honestly admit that this year I believe I cried the whole way home from the state wrestling championships at Mizzou Arena- I knew it was the last time I’d be covering that event and anyone who knows me knows that wrestling is the best sport there is without question.

There are still a few memories I plan to capture, but I dare say time will pass quickly. I wish to say thank you for over a decade of fun memories. It’s been an honor to record the events you have allowed me to be a part of. Don’t be afraid to come up and say hello over the next few weeks. I’d love the chance to thank you all for inviting me into your lives.

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