Lifelong friendships make Herald journey memorable

Column by Hendrix Magley

Magley

There’s a phrase that goes along the lines of, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” It’s a saying that’s always stuck with me, and it’s a saying that accurately represents my past two years covering sports for The Herald.

For those of you who don’t know, I’ll be leaving The Herald on Friday to embark on a new journey in Evansville with the Courier & Press. It’s a decision that was extremely difficult to make, mostly because of the friendships and the stories that Dubois County has brought me since I first arrived in Jasper in May 2017.

I’ve been extremely lucky to have covered some incredibly successful teams during my tenure with The Herald. Of course, the first one that comes to mind is Southridge’s 2017 football state championship run — witnessing the legendary two-point conversion from Jayce Harter to Tucker Schank and seeing the ensuing insanity from the Raider fans once the game clock read 0:00 is something I’ll no doubt always remember.

Then, of course, there was the miracle run the Forest Park boys basketball team went on that saw incredible buzzer-beating shots from Collin Hochgesang and Noah Fleck in the sectional. This led to some amazing quotes from Fleck and then-freshman phenom Curt Hopf as the Rangers rode that momentum all the way to the state championship game. While the players’ excitement is surely memorable, it’s the community support from both of these runs that tends to stick out the most.

As I mentioned earlier, I was extremely lucky to witness not only these two runs, but several other impressive teams during my time here — the continued dominance of Jasper tennis, Southridge baseball making back-to-back state finals the past two years, Northeast Dubois showing its dominance on the tennis court and the Heritage Hills football team finishing with an undefeated season in 2018.

I’ve also been incredibly lucky to work with so many coaches and athletic directors that truly care about the well-being of not only their programs, but the student-athletes who compete day in and day out for those teams. From in-depth conversations with Scott Buening after every single Southridge football game to hearing Terry Gobert talk mostly about how important his family was after reaching his 800th career victory, I quickly realized just how much these coaches truly care.

The memories and conversations with people such as Brett Bardwell, Andy Chinn, Terry Friedman, Ross Fuhs, John Goebel, Doug Louden, Jessica Mehringer and countless others are just part of what made working late hours and long trips to road games completely worth it.

But perhaps my favorite part was speaking with athletes that were so dedicated to their craft and, at the same time, incredibly humble and successful. I’ll always remember hearing the excitement in the voices of Reece Milligan and Tucker Schank after they officially signed their Division I letters of intent, and I’ll always recall Clare Mangin being eager to talk with me, whether it was after a big win or even a heartbreaking loss such as the Jeeps’ softball championship defeat to Wood Memorial in 2018.

I’ve seen many extremely successful athletes graduate and move on to bigger and better things — athletes such as Eric Nordhoff, Sarah Monesmith, Jaden Hayes, Claire Mehling, Sam Englert, Alan Kerstiens, Abby Wahl and Cade Jones are just a few names that come to mind. It’s always awesome to see kids be extremely amped up after a big performance against a conference rival or in a postseason tournament, but it’s even better seeing them continue that success into their post-high school careers.

But what made the decision to leave The Herald the hardest was undoubtedly the relationships I’ve made with my co-workers these past few years. I’ll always be incredibly grateful to Justin Rumbach for allowing me to take over as The Herald’s sports editor less than six months after graduating from college — it was a nerve-wracking transition, but I’m forever grateful to have been able to learn and grow as I go.

Two of the people that helped me the most were two former longtime Herald sports editors, Brendan Perkins and Jason Recker. I was lucky enough to be able to work with them for a few months before they both went on to tackle other adventures, and they definitely have helped shape me into the journalist I am today. Whether it was the ins and outs of the scoreboard page or the extensive work put in on the basketball sectional tab, these guys helped make my job at The Herald much, much easier.

I’m also extremely grateful to have worked alongside such friendly people in the newsroom. There’s Jonathan Saxon, who helped to hold down the two-man sports team and always produced quality content for our readers. Then there’s Allen Laman, the first friend I made when I moved to Jasper — I’ll greatly miss our trips to Snaps and to “Vegas.” And, of course, there’s the photo staff — I’ll always be appreciative of the work Sarah Ann Jump, Traci Westcott and Kaiti Sullivan (as well as countless others during my time at The Herald, such as Dave Weatherwax, Brittney Lohmiller, Marlena Sloss, Jacob Wiegand, Nic Antaya and Daniel Vasta) continuously produce to help visualize our written work. Of course, I’ll also miss the late-night conversations in the office while editing stories, and the long car rides to places such as Brazil and Knightstown — yes, real places in Indiana.

I’ll miss seeing Cheryl Wigand’s smiling face every time I walk up those stairs. I’ll miss the conversations with Dawn Mazur about how LeBron James and the Golden State Warriors ruined the NBA, I’ll miss talking about all things Forest Park football with Bill Powell, I’ll miss seeing what crazy Hawaiian shirt Lynn Adams will come up with next and I’ll miss the happy personalities of Leann Burke, Olivia Ingle and Candy Neal.

As I wrap up this column, I find myself getting a little emotional. It’s crazy that when I first accepted a job here, I planned on getting my feet wet and moving on after a year or so. Now that two years have flown by and I actually am moving on, it seems ridiculously hard to say good-bye. To all of Dubois County (and Northern Spencer county for my Heritage Hills folks), thank you for letting me help tell your stories.




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