LAURINBURG — My first week at the Laurinburg Exchange has been a thrilling whirlwind filled with new faces and new places, all while settling into an unfamiliar office space and trying to figure out how many times this computer is going to test my patience.
The one thing that has remained consistent during this time of change is the the people of Laurinburg. Every single person I’ve engaged in an interview or casual conversation has welcomed me to the area with open arms and congratulations. I can’t say enough about the community here. You all have helped ease me into the position more than anything else.
As has always been the case with my journalism career, I do my best to make the subjects of my writing the true voice of a piece — after all, they are the ones kind enough to take the time out of their day to speak with me, a young, wide-eyed, gangly-looking reporter. In meeting me and reading my work the past week, I hope you have a good feel for who I am and the kind of honest, hard-working journalist I strive to be.
With that being said, I am not perfect. Nobody is. But I made a mistake earlier in the week that has tugged at the back of my brain for a couple of days now.
On Monday, I set out for Optimist Park to cover the Optimist 10U team in their game against Sandhills — the winner of this series would move on to play against eventual champion West Raleigh.
It was great being able to relive my youth baseball days by watching the kids play, but our print deadline prevented me from staying the entire game.
I got the pictures I needed and when I left it wasn’t looking so good for the 10U team – two pitcher changes by the second inning and a 8-0 deficit. As is the norm for sports reporters writing on a deadline, I was already formulating what my final story would say. I left, and went back to the office to work on the various other stories I was putting together.
Later that night, I drove to Optimist park once more to see if the game had ended — it had not. But things were still looking grim for the Optimist boys, as the scoreboard read 14-8 in favor of Sandhills in the 6th and final inning.
The mistake I made was assuming that the game was over. I assumed Optimist was going to lose and that the two teams would need to play one more game that night, which would go on long past the deadline time. Well, you know what they say about people who assume.
I ended up driving back to the office and, as the final deadline loomed, I made the decision to write up that Optimist had lost and they would need to play Sandhills one more time that night, because surely they would not have been able to pull off the comeback.
As it turned out, the Optimist All-Stars forced extra innings and ended up winning 19-18 in a game for the ages — one that will go down in Optimist Park lore. Those boys deserved to be celebrated for their effort and praised for staging such a come from behind win, and I feel like I took their voice away by publishing otherwise. As a writer, that is the absolute last thing I ever want to do.
So, I’ll say it here instead. Congratulations, Optimist 10U All-Stars. Despite falling short in the championship series, you deserve the trophy for that win alone. Don’t let anyone take that moment away from you, least of all me. It was an improbable outcome, and a learning experience that I will not soon forget.
Did I mention that it’s been a thrilling whirlwind of a week?
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3171. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.