I believe there is no better area in the state to be a high school sports journalist than North Fulton and Forsyth County. Unless you are a lazy sports journalist, that is.
In this area, you can expect so many great games each week your head will spin. You can expect that the first round of the playoffs will contain more teams than you can count, and you are nearly guaranteed that a local team will be in state championship contention in every sport.
Flip through this publication and you will find an article highlighting the 2017-18 season for North Fulton and Forsyth County programs. Local teams captured 19 state championships, 12 state runner-up titles, and 25 athletes won individual state titles in swim and dive, track and field and wrestling.
It is a truly remarkable area to cover, with standout athletes, sharp coaches and strong fan support at every school in nearly every sport.
And, it is a very tiring area to cover. The season starts in July as we ramp up for the start of football, softball and volleyball season. Those sports are still going strong when basketball, wrestling and swim and dive begin. Then comes the busiest time of year. With winter sports still wrapping up, baseball, soccer, lacrosse, golf, tennis and track and field all kick off. And as stated earlier, you can expect at least one, but more often than not many, teams making deep playoff runs on their way to the state finals.
Though sports overlap constantly throughout the year, I understand the GHSA schedule is about as good as it can be. But if I could make a suggestion, perhaps the implementation of a mid-year “sports journalist” week where no sports are played to help us keep our sanity.
That said, I still look forward to game day. Having attended hundreds of local games, I still get excited when two teams are duking it out and exchanging blows. Chills still descend my spine whenever the crowd roars in celebration. I feel the adrenaline surge when the band and drumline fire up the crowd. And the smell of hamburgers grilling and buttery popcorn almost provide an olfactory home away from home.
I truly love what I do, but I will also enjoy the summer months.
When schools are out of session, I can finally relax a little bit. There are no more Friday night football games to attend, then hurry home and have the article and a recap of all other local games on our website. There are no more baseball doubleheaders, volleyball tournaments, girls basketball games followed immediately by the boys or soccer games stretching into penalty shootouts.
In summer, my weekends are suddenly open. My nights are filled with a whole lot of doing nothing. And finally, I can take a well-deserved vacation.
But truth be told, I know in a few weeks I’m going to be itching to get back into it. I’m going to miss the Friday night lights, the echoing of a basketball bouncing off the hardwoods, the punch of a fastball hitting a catcher’s mitt, the roar of the crowds and the sights and smells of local high school sports.
Because this is the best place in Georgia to be a high school sports journalist.