Goodbye, Southern Maryland
Upon returning home to Maryland from North Carolina A&T State University with a degree in journalism, I began covering sports for the Gazette newspapers in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.
Barely a year later, I was in for a rude awakening when The Washington Post Companies decided to take a sledgehammer to its community newspapers in the summer of 2015, which included closing the Gazettes. Although we Gazette staffers heard The Post was also doing similar things with other properties, including Southern Maryland Newspapers, all we could worry about at the time was being out of a job. Needless to say, we were collectively devastated.
As it turns out, the Post actually sold Southern Maryland Newspapers to Adams Publishing Group, which at the time, I had no clue would be my saving grace. A few months later, I received a call from The Calvert Recorder sports editor Andy States. Andy offered me an opportunity to interview for a sports writer opening at Southern Maryland Newspapers. I jumped at the opportunity.
It literally took just a week on the job for my eyes to be opened to a new world of Maryland. When I was a kid, I made the trek down U.S. Route 301 South several times from Prince George’s County. With each trip, I grew more curious about the St. Mary’s and Calvert County areas that lay just a few miles south of my Bowie home.
As I peered out the windows of our family van with my childhood lenses, I thought about the people in this area. Were they farmers? Were they fishermen? If my neighborhood friends and I played a neighborhood of these kids in basketball or football, could they beat us? Southern Maryland Newspapers would provide me the opportunities I needed to traverse these close, yet unfamiliar areas.
My first story for Southern Maryland Newspapers was a piece in The Recorder on pickleball, a sport I knew nothing about. I traveled down to Solomons Island to hang out with a 73-year-old man and his friends as they played the unfamiliar sport, taught me how to play, and introduced me to the area. I couldn’t have found a better way to get introduced to Calvert County. A couple of weeks later, I covered what was possibly the final Chaptico Classic, a St. Mary’s County staple for decades.
Over the past eight months, I’m extremely proud to have covered historical events, intriguing people and the shining moments of so many high schools. These include, North Point football’s undefeated regular season, Patuxent football’s state championship, Huntingtown’s state semifinal soccer teams and its record-setting boys basketball team, McDonough’s state finalist volleyball team, North Point and Northern’s state semifinalist girls basketball teams, along with countless indoor track and field state champions, including Northern’s girls team and Westlake’s boys. I’ve had the great pleasure of interviewing and reporting stories on many dedicated coaches and great student-athletes. It’s been a short but memorable ride.
That ride is coming to an end today. April 8 is my final day with Southern Maryland Newspapers. I accepted a new position, one outside of this great state that I was raised in and will continue to love.
Through my now adult lenses, my trips to Calvert and Charles counties have blurred the Prince George’s border lines of my childhood. It turns out that my home county didn’t stretch as far as I thought it did and Southern Maryland wasn’t much different from home.
In fact, all of Maryland seems alike to me. I couldn’t have landed in a better area than Southern Maryland to spend the majority of my last days in Maryland. I’ve learned how kind, hardworking, inclusive, and community-driven the people are. And yes, I do believe that, although it wouldn’t have been a cakewalk, the Southern Maryland kids could’ve taken a few games from my Prince George’s County friends and I.
Ultimately, I move on to the next phase of my life with a wider view of my home state. I want to thank all of the students, parents, coaches, athletic directors and people who have helped make my job as easy as possible.
Thank you to the readers. You are more important than you realize. Thank you to Andy, my sports editor Paul Watson, the Maryland Independent editor Rob Perry, and my co-sports writers AJ Mason, Tammy Showalter, and Ted Black for all your help. And finally, thank you Southern Maryland for the memories.