Column: 10 months in, how 2022 has been

Published 12:31 pm Friday, December 23, 2022

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

When I accepted the job to be the next sports writer for The Clanton Advertiser in February, it was a little intimidating. I was comfortable with Alabama going to The University of Alabama, but I had never visited Chilton County before. I knew I was walking into completely unfamiliar territory in a place where no one knew me, and I was tasked with trying to develop a relationship with every athletic head in the county. It is not easy, but fast forward 10 months, it is very much worth it.

From the first soccer game I covered at Chilton County High School the night I started, I could tell this place would be fun. Everyone is full of energy and they really care about their craft and the sports they participate in whether they are a coach, player or fan. I have covered sports from football and baseball to dirt bike racing and bull riding, and everything in between. The biggest constant I have seen throughout everything is the passion everyone has. The passion everyone has here is cool to see first-hand, and even cooler to be able to talk with people about why they are so passionate about it.

Aside from sports, I have seen that passion in everyday life in Chilton County as well. I have developed relationships with many figureheads in the county, and each one has a passion for the people they serve and the job they do, just like those involved in sports. Members of the community are passionate about making sure their voices are heard, and their feelings are expressed. When you drive around Chilton County you see hundreds of houses decorated with lights, and that goes to show the passion people have to brighten their communities.

When I reflect on some of the most exciting stories I got to write in 2022, I can pinpoint a few that really stood out to me. The Verbena and Maplesville high school’s football game on Oct. 21 was the most exciting sporting event I covered because of the buildup that surrounded the game all week leading up to it. Verbena having its best season in years, and Maplesville being the traditional local powerhouse, the cross-county rivalry was rekindled and it was fun to have a front-row seat for.

Outside of sports, I have really enjoyed writing about how Ascension St. Vincent’s Chilton has helped enhance the medical security in Chilton County. Residents not having to travel to Birmingham or Montgomery to receive top class medical care is great, and St. Vincent’s Chilton’s award-winning care has been fun to write about.

The first 10 months at the Advertiser have been full of fun and interesting stories. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Chilton County so far, and I look forward to what 2023 has in store for me and the county.