SPORTS COMMENTARY

MCMURRY: Thank You

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After graduating from North Montgomery in 2013, it didn’t take long for me to realize that I wanted to call Montgomery County my forever home.

I loved the community, the people in it, the close proximity to my relatives, and the fact I knew the whole county like the back of my hand.

When I realized that, I knew my dream of making it big time as a sports writer or broadcaster was likely out the window.

A job cannot outweigh all the other components of life.

And that brings me to today.

When I accepted the sports editor position at the Journal Review in December of 2018, it was a dream come true. I have been living the best of both worlds for the last three years.

I mow yards all day and cover high school sports all evening. I’ve had the opportunity to do the two things I love simultaneously. Now, that’s a dream.

But I’ve also changed a lot in the last three years.

I married the love of my life, Chase. And two months ago, we welcomed our daughter Quinn into our lives.

Folks, even if you don’t want to believe it — things change when you get married and have kids. Working two full-time jobs all the sudden isn’t so glamorous anymore. And let’s be honest, I’m not as invincible as I think I am. Sometimes sleeping is a must.

The time is now that I must move on to the next ‘thing.’

I want to thank Tina McGrady for giving me this opportunity and allowing me to lead the sports department at the Journal Review. Tina, Nick Hedrick, and I have been honored to cover news in Montgomery County, especially in the last year and a half. The both of them will continue to do so and all your support is greatly appreciated.

All the success this sports department has had in the last six years started in August of 2021 when Jim Johnson rose to the occasion. Jim walked into a tough situation and laid the groundwork for the coverage and stories that we continue to deliver today. Jim also became my mentor, and nothing that I’ve done would have been possible without Jim.

I also want to thank my parents, Jeff and Kim for all their support along with my grandparents Vance and Shirley Pyle and Tom and Sue McMurry. I have four living grandparents and my parents all live in this community. It’s the No. 1 reason I’m here, and I’m blessed to have them all so close.

Most importantly, I want to thank my wife, Chase, for supporting me in this adventure from day No. 1. No, there are not sporting events 365 days a year, but when you work a second job all day, there still doesn’t leave a lot of time at home in the evenings, and Chase has been very supportive of that all along.

I do also want to thank one person, who I didn’t know until I took this position, but has been a huge supporter — and that’s Doug Hudson. Thank you, Doug.

And thank you specifically to the four athletic directors in our coverage area, Bryce Barton, Aaron Charles, Jason Good, and Matt Merica. This job can be very tough at times, but you all four make it much easier.

To the coaches, thank you for your constant communication, your willingness to make my job easier, and for all the conversations that we’ve had that never makes it into print.

To the parents, thank you for the conversations, the support, and the new friendships I’ve built with you.

To the athletes, thank you for allowing me to do my job. I’ve enjoyed watching and covering each and every one of you. Especially this currently senior class that I’ve watched grow throughout their high school careers. I appreciate all the love and support you’ve given me.

I feel like we’ve offered fair coverage the last three years. I’ve made it my goal to equalize all athletes and teams. A cross country meet means the same to that individual as a basketball game means to their classmate — and that’s important to remember.

I’ve been blessed to not only cover the day-to-day grind of high school sports in this community, but meet new people, from great relationships, and write stories about anything under the sun.

This industry is ever-changing, and while I know we’ve missed some stories in the last three years — I know we’ve been able to tell some great ones. And that wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Jeff Nelson.

There have been a number of sports editors at the Journal Review in the last 35 years — but each one of them has had Nelson there in their ear — giving them insight, story ideas, and ALWAYS willing to step up and help out.

This job would be impossible without the help of Nelson, and I’m forever grateful for the help he’s given me and the friendship that we’ve formed.

This is a very tough job to walk away from, because no matter how many stories I write, there will always be another story.

But, I also know that I can no longer give this job the attention and dedication that it deserves, and it’s clear that someone else can.

I am excited about the opportunity that Codey Emerson has to continue covering high school sports in this community. Please give Codey the same support that you’ve given me.

The support that I’ve received from this community has been tremendous and over the moon.

So thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

And don’t worry, I will still be around. You’ll still hear my voice on the radio, a byline in the newspaper from time to time and I’m looking forward at the opportunity to give back to the community I love in various ways.

The path for me next is pretty clear. Honestly, it’s been clear for almost 20 years.

I’m simply giving up one dream to put all my focus on another.

Because the grass is always greener on the other side — as long as you take care of it ...

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