“Wow, what a great opportunity,” I said to myself out-loud as I was leaving the Wells Fargo Arena courtside last Friday night.
The Montezuma Bravettes had just wrapped up their 2020-21 basketball season in a tough 73-34 semifinal loss to Newell-Fonda, and I was there to capture all the moments with my camera this past week.
This is the third year I have been able to roam the sidelines at Wells Fargo covering Montezuma girls’ and boys’ teams. Two years ago, I also covered the Grinnell Lady Tigers at state basketball.
The Montezuma girls have made it four straight years while the boys are playing in their third state tournament in as many years this week.
I’ve been to all the state basketball games the last three years, outside of two consolation games the boys played in the last two years.
Toss in a few years ago having the opportunity to cover the Grinnell Tigers at state basketball in 2012, 13 and 14. And also state football at the UNI-Dome with Montezuma in 2006, BGM in 2012 and 13 and the Grinnell Tigers in 2012.
Unfortunately, due to a bout of COVID, I missed Montezuma’s return trip to state football in November 2020.
And there is state track and field, which I’ve covered two or three times and Montezuma softball in sub-state in 2017.
I’ve also covered Montezuma, BGM and Grinnell at two Shrine Bowls in 2007 and 2014. And plans are to return to this year’s Shrine Bowl in July as players from Montezuma and Grinnell will be suiting up for the game.
I’ve taken a lot of photos at state, capturing the smiles, the gritty plays, the tough calls, the emotion, the heart, the tears and the fans who follow their teams.
What a wonderful opportunity and joy to be able to be there. Sometimes I miss the moment and other times I hit the basket and make a touchdown.
I’m proud of what I’ve done. I’ve poured my heart into it and love it, every minute of it, even in the losses, which are always tough.
Had you told me 30 years ago that I would return to college and earn my BS Degree in Agriculture Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia at the age 38, I would have probably said that is crazy thinking.
It was crazy to leave my home town with no job and not much money to venture off to the world of unknowns. But here I am in small town Iowa, some 525 miles from where I grew up, doing my best to make a difference in my community, county and state through my stories and photos in this publication and others along the way.
It took three tries to get into journalism school. I just never gave up and getting up when I got knocked down. I attended tutoring sessions to learn from the pros. I kept believing, I kept trying, I kept praying and I never quit listening to my heart. It said I could!
Success in life isn’t always a nice bank account or a fancy car in the garage, it’s about making a difference, using your talents and giving life your best in all you do.
Thank you to all those who have supported me, encouraged me, given me advice and given me the thumbs up. It is much appreciated and I don’t take any of it for granted.
And there is much more to come in life. Opportunity is knocking and I have my hand on the doorknob.
Have a great week and always remember that “Good Things are Happening,” every day and always.