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By Donica Phifer
For most journalists, writing about yourself is far harder than anything else you might be assigned in your career.
We make a living out of what is happening to other people, but, considering that I’m new here in town, I thought it appropriate that my first column for The Gazette provide a little background information.
I’m not a complete stranger to New Albany. I’ve had family here for going on 10 years, and this town has been a perfect stopping point during my weekend commutes between my hometown of Tishomingo and Oxford.
That’s the other thing you’d soon find out if we were to meet – I am a diehard Rebels fan. My knowledge and passion for Ole Miss sports borders on obsessive and embarrassing, but I make no apologies for it.
I love Oxford. I love Ole Miss. My weekend can be ruined by a loss. I cried hysterical tears of joy and disbelief during the SEC Basketball Championship. I rushed the field with my friends at the 2012 Egg Bowl and so on....
I don’t mind a few Bulldogs roaming around – my youngest brother (the ‘family’ that lives here, if you were curious) is a huge State fan, and I haven’t chucked him off the family tree yet.
For my sports knowledge, I have to thank my brothers and my dad. All three of them were pretty stellar athletes in their time. People still come up to me and discuss my dad’s feats as a high school and junior college quarterback.
Growing up, we watched games and they taught me what I wanted to know and answered all my (incredibly annoying) questions.
So, at five years old, I knew what a first down was. I also knew how to tackle and throw a pass – though it was wobbly and only went about five feet.
My own participation in sports is almost non-existent. Somewhere along the gene pool, I missed the athletic portion and instead was given a bunch of artsy-minded DNA which had me spending my time singing and acting.
I did play basketball, purely for being the second tallest in my class and the idea that I had the talent of my brothers (I don’t), and I ran track for a couple of years and then I let it go. My heart wasn’t in it.
I was a spectator, not an athlete.
But that’s OK because being a great spectator has led me here to this town and this job.
My friends in the business have been sharing stories of their coverage of Union County preps – how a New Albany High football game is the hottest ticket in town on Friday, how loud and passionate all five schools are about basketball, East Union’s success in baseball…every day I’ve gotten a new story about the history of this county and I’m ready to see what sort of milestones are in the mix for the upcoming year.
I’d also like to extend an invitation to the social media minded among the Gazette readers – I’m on Twitter and will tweet out plenty of goodies once we’ve properly kicked off the school year.
It’s @donicaphifer, if you’d like to follow on the fun. I hope you do.