The last time I was covering high school football, I was watching six-man, eight-man and 11-man football in Montana. Granted, that was only back in 2019-2020, but it feels like forever ago. To have the opportunity to be the on the sideline for the first time covering high school football in Alabama last week was a whole different ballgame for me.
I say it all the time, but the main reason outside of anything else for accepting this job was that I wanted to be in a state where sports couldn't be more important. Alabama certainly fits that bill. As an avid college football fan, I'm keenly aware of how important Alabama and Auburn football is here. I do hope to someday cover college football, or any collegiate or professional sports teams at some point in my life, but it can’t get much better than “Friday Night Lights.” Being on the sideline, even in the pouring rain (Thursday) and getting bit up by mosquitoes (Friday), watching a game I love, seeing the fans and the community gather together to cheer on their kids and favorite football team is usually a great experience. It's special, it's unique, and here, it's Alabama football.
This profession, while it carries a lot of stress and and sometimes causes me to question my career choices, it certainly has its perks. Covering games every chance I get, meeting with players, coaches and people in the community at these events, is what makes it fun.
I talk to my mom in Florida and dad in Michigan almost every day. They're always up to date on what I'm doing and how I'm doing. When I'm stressed about finances or just overwhelmed, my dad always tells me there's a reason that you don't make a whole lot of money covering local sports: Because it's fun. While my twin brother is sitting in his office or my dad is complaining about a job he has worked at for 30-some years, I'm working from a sideline or a press box. He's not wrong.
That part of this job almost never feels like work. Although, watching and writing about a team you’ve come to know get blown out in a game is a lot less enjoyable.
I had a blast Week 1 of the football season. I feel like a kid on Christmas who gets to open a gift every Friday night, and I can't wait to continue to do this every week throughout the fall.
—Devlin can be reached at email@example.com