Tickel Your Fancy: Swinging for fencesSeptember 27, 2021
By HUNTER TICKEL
JASPER — There were a plethora of reasons for moving north from Perry County.
None of them hit home like the opportunity to lay down roots for my future family. First, here are some side reasons for relocating to Dubois County.
This move invigorates me like the one I made at this time last year. I have unbridled enthusiasm for covering five schools with established, passionate fan bases. Hours following the announcement, the enormous local sports community on Twitter reached out.
In a lot of ways, it's a reflection of the commitment that student-athletes have from their family, which stems from the dedication of these kids.
Last spring, I drove to Northeast Dubois for a baseball sectional, and the signage on the way to the stadium reflected a small-town pride that I liken to Hickory from "Hoosiers."
It had all the feels.
The facilities at these schools can hold a candle to other programs throughout the state.
Some of these settings border on college setups.
I'm a big arena guy, so frequenting Huntingburg Memorial Gym and Jasper consistently for basketball and wrestling and Jasper for volleyball are atop my hierarchy for venues.
The dedicated fan bases and credible facilities transition into my next pro — more access to stats and research.
This allows me to focus on writing at games, as well as give better context for each play and team accomplishment.
Tools like Digital Scout, shout out to those stat keepers, allow me to take photos during games, make observations and post in-game tweets.
At my inaugural event in Dubois, a month ago, while I was on double duty, the cross country timekeeper went out of his way to make sure I was set with scores before my first deadline.
Dubois will be a massive step up in championship caliber. That's no knock on Perry. Take last year — Jasper and Southridge won state titles in baseball.
Another upgrade is the number of athletes moving to the college ranks and beyond. In July, Southridge's Colson Montgomery was selected by my Chicago White Sox in the 2021 Major League Baseball First-Year Play Draft.
The upped ante on the soccer field is a welcomed upgrade, too.
I played soccer for the nationally competitive University of Cincinnati club team. You could say I know a thing or two about the beautiful game.
Covering some of the best boys and girls squads in the state will bring me joy. There's nothing quite like playoff soccer on brisk nights in October.
This brings me to my most incumbent reason for this jump — Annie Mason, my girlfriend.
My commitment to the area is a minimum of three-to-five years. As our relationship continues to mesh, the idea of buying a house in Jasper and starting a family becomes less talk and more substantive.
That's the reason why this decision was a home run, Dubois County.
Swing for the fences only, right?
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