My high school football coach, the legendary David Diamont, used to say, “Sports does not build character, it reveals it.” That is the message I want to get across in this publication. There are many valuable lessons and positive benefits that can be taken from playing individual and teams sports. Chief among those benefits is that sports will reveal to young people their internal drive and also their resolve when things go wrong.
While growing up, I played football, basketball, baseball, golf and ran track. I even tried my hand at tennis. I come from the very small town of Pilot Mountain, N.C. When my high school—the East Surry Cardinals—had football games on Friday nights, the entire town shut down between 7:30 and 10 p.m.
I can still hear my dad chewing me out for not hustling down the first base line after a weakly hit ground ball. He would tell me that sports isn’t just about that moment or that play, but how you will conduct yourself in the many trying situations and circumstances that life will present.
When I wasn’t playing organized team sports, my brothers and I were playing in the driveway or front yard. Sports consumed my entire childhood and served as a bonding tool between my dad, brothers and me. Whenever the Tar Heels were playing a televised basketball game, my dad and I would be right there, in our lucky seats on the couch, living and dying on every shot.
As I get older, I can look back and realize just how special those moments were. Sports was the vessel that provided those special moments. I’ll never forget my dad getting me out of school early in 2005 to drive down to Chapel Hill to watch the Tar Heels capture the NCAA title in St. Louis. As soon as the game ended, we rushed out of the Dean E. Smith Center and headed straight to Franklin Street to join in the celebratory madness. Moments like that are the ones I cherish and hope to experience one day with kids of my own.
I don’t want to forget to mention my mom who is a saint and deserves all the credit for putting up with our around-the-clock love of sports throughout the years.
We hope you enjoy reading this magazine as much as we enjoy putting it together. Our goal is simple. We want to showcase local sports stories that are interesting and thought-provoking to the community in which we live.