When I came to write for the Ardmoreite in July of 2000, I was fresh off a failed gig in New Braunfels, Texas.

When I came to write for the Ardmoreite in July of 2000, I was fresh off a failed gig in New Braunfels, Texas.

It didn’t take long to get over my previous job. The Ardmoreite gave me more opportunities to cover sports than I could ever imagine, and not just high school athletics in the entire area. I also got to go to football games at the state’s major colleges, and even attended a few Dallas Cowboy games.

But what I took notice about the high school athletic teams in this area is the effort all put forward, regardless of sport, whether it be boys or girls.

Every team and every individual demonstrates hard work, commitment and dedication to winning with their hearts and souls. 

I’ve seen many outstanding teams, as well as athletes on my beats from football to golf here in Southern Oklahoma. 

Most importantly, my time in Ardmore is marked with the most important moment of my life. I came here living for the world. I am leaving, knowing Jesus Christ as my personal saviour. I also re-dedicated my life to Him my first year here, after drifting away from Him  when I was young.  Knowing Him has taken me to places I never thought I dreamed of, and I believe it is He who has blessed me with the opportunities to write about the fine athletes of this area, many whom I have found to be God-loving and God-fearing young men and women, who are not afraid to give their testimony. Those experiences are just among many that have strengthened me in my walk.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the space to go down the whole list of teams and athletes that have inspired through the years. But one team I would like to pay tribute to is the 2001 Ardmore Tigers baseball team. These guys began the season on a roll after surprising people with a trip to the state tournament the previous year.

They had firepower in their bats and were blasting balls out of the park while starting off 18-1 and sitting at No. 1 in Class 5A. Good pitching helped too. They appeared destined to win the state championship. But it didn’t happen. In the latter half of the season, the Tigers hit a drought, losing 11 of their last 20 regular season games.

They made a nice comeback in the regional tournament, but came up short when a wild pitch allowed Chickasha to beat them by one run, ending a 15-inning game in the regional championship.

It was heartbreaking. However, those guys fought valiantly in the end, and as I have said about many other outstanding teams I have covered, Ardmore may have not have been champions, but they were, and still are, champions in my eyes.

I have also been blessed by being allowed going to other top venues in sports.

I’ll never forget how blown away I was when the Sooners crushed Texas 63-14 on a rainy day at the Cotton Bowl in 2000. That was when OU arrived under Bob Stoops, and the same year Josh Huepel led the Sooners to the national championship.

In the summer of 2001, I went to the U.S. Open at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa. At that time, Tiger Woods was going for a fifth straight grand slam win and there was a massive number of reporters from all over the world. Woods struggled at the Open, but won the PGA championship six years later on the same course. I was there for that as well and was amazed at the prestige I felt from those events.

I’ve also been to the Women’s Final Four in San Antonio, Texas, when the Sooner women, coached by Healdton native Sherri Coale, were led by great players such as Stacy Dales and Laneisha Caufield and competed for the national championship.

I traveled to California for the 2003 Rose Bowl. I also strolled the sidelines when the late drama between OU and Boise State went down in a classic Fiesta Bowl in Arizona.

I have also seen some outstanding golf annually at the Perry Maxwell Intercollegiate at Dornick Hills Country Club. I saw many golfers who moved on to the PGA. 

With a lengthy tenure, I got to make solid business contacts and even had a church family to call home.

At one time I thought I was going to settle here. but things worked out where the time came to move on. I’m going to Shawnee to write for their paper.

Working here has been a blessing and I will miss it so.

Farewell Ardmore! It’s been great. Thank you for eight wonderful years. I love you! God bless you!