The harder the climb

Published 5:10 pm Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Every year when the high school football season comes to an end, it’s fun to look back and reminisce about the experiences my traveling companions and I had on our road trips to and from the games.

Our first trip this year was to Blakely to play the Early County High School Bobcats.

Photographer Bob Stott, my dear friend, Billy Simmons Jr., who works with Memorial Hospital and Manor athletic trainer Chris Summers, and I arrived at the stadium about 45 minutes before kickoff.

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One of the difficulties I have had through the years has been getting up to some of the high-level press boxes.

The Early County press box was relatively easy to get up to. There were a number of steps, but they were all wide and relatively easy to maneuver.

Bob, an outstanding photographer and very good friend, often jokes that when he turns in his photography time to The Post-Searchlight, he adds a towing fee for getting me up to the press boxes.

The second road trip of the year was to Harris County High School in Hamilton. My fellow Post-Searchlight reporter and friend, Brennan Leathers, drove Billy and I to that event and took game photos.

After making sure I got to the press box all right, Brennan came back up at halftime and after the game to dial the cell phone and turn the pages for me while I dictated my story to managing editor Carol Heard.

The third road trip of the year was to Jones County High School in Gray. Brennan again drove us, took pictures, and helped me in the press box. He, however, stayed up there for a Kiwanis meeting the next day in Macon. Billy rode home with Summers, Bearcats team chaplain Derrick Cox and Bearcats statistician Chip Ariail while I rode home with Paschal Ward and his outstanding and award-winning Bainbridge High School Marching Bearcats Band.

I’ll have to say that the Jones County High School press was the most difficult I have ever had to negotiate. There was a huge step from the highest bleacher up to it.

If it had not been for Bearcats tight ends and offensive line coach Tom Wheeler, I would probably have had to sit on that highest bleacher to work on my story.

“Hey coach,” I hollered as he was making his way up to his scouting position in the press box, ‘how about a boost?’”

He stuck out his hand, grabbed mine, and lifted me up to the press box.

Brennan, Billy and I next went to Americus for the Bearcats game with the Americus-Sumter County High School Panthers. The press box there was easy to get into.

The final two road trips were to Thomas County Central, where Billy and I rode together and Heard took pictures, and Brunswick for a first-round playoff game, where Brennan again drove Billy and I and took pictures.

Both had very spacious press boxes, but in Brunswick, I had to climb a spiral stair case with narrow steps. The older I get, the harder the climbs get.