State finals, an experience like no other

Published 9:46 am Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Walking down a narrow hallway, the announcer’s voice bounces off of the cement floors and drywall at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center.

This week, the Alabama High School Athletic Association is holding the Final Four, a state basketball tournament. Four teams in each of the seven classifications vie for the blue map, a championship.

The Atmore Advance was asked to come to the Final Four to help one of our papers. We came to cover the T.R. Miller-Lauderdale County girls Class 3A semifinals game on Tuesday.

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Now, let me start by saying it has been a number of years since I’ve been in the BJCC.

While in Andalusia as the sports editor of the Star-News, I found myself here a few times, covering two girls teams and a boys team that made it this far.

As I walked through the hallway, memories started flooding back.

The one constant in those memories was looking around at the crowd cheering on their respective teams. Making the state finals is a big deal.

And it’s a big deal for journalists alike. There’s no other enironment like this out there and it can be addicting.

As I type this, I’m sitting in the media room at the arena and thinking about Monday.

About mid morning, my best friend, Kendra Majors, called me and asked if I could come up and cover this game for the Brewton Standard, our paper in Brewton.

She asked what my schedule was like on Tuesday, and I said I don’t have much going on, other than helping put the paper together, and said “sure!”

On Monday, I made sure to get all of my editorial content ready for layout because the rest was easy.

I made my way to Birmingham safely, and my first thought walking through the media entrance was, “this looks familiar.”

My second thought? “What’s the wifi password? I’ve got some work to do.”