By Cody Leist
Firsts are very memorable, some more pleasant than others.
October 13, 2010, that was first for me. Five months after receiving my bachelor’s degree, I grabbed the keys to my first apartment in Sciotoville and started my first full-time job with this publication.
Today will be another first as it is with mixed emotions that I conclude my tenure with The Daily Times and move on to a new venture. As I look back on what took place during my three-plus years here in Scioto County, I feel lucky that I was able to tell great stories through print. Not many journalists can say that in their first full-time job, they helped or took the lead in covering three boys and one girls state Final Four teams in basketball, a two-time state baseball champion, a volleyball power making its first-ever trip to the state semifinals, three regional football finalists, one of the state’s best throwers in track and field as well as the number of athletes who are or were a part of the 20 schools this paper covers at some point during each school year.
Oh, and I didn’t forget about the 2011 Shawnee State women’s basketball team. What a week, after traveling to Jackson, Tenn., just days after being in Columbus with the Oak Hill girls basketball team that finished as the state runner-up and prepping for the first of Portsmouth’s back-to-back Final Four appearances.
Such is the life of a sports journalist.
There has been a lot of change in this department since I arrived. I worked with four different sports editors, each with different talents that I tried to learn from. With each transition, my goal was to combine continuity with new ideas to bring the best local coverage possible.
From Day One, I wanted to make sure local sports was a top priority. At the end of the day, I hope that I met your standards.
I want to thank each and every athlete, coach, school administrator, game official and fan for their patience and cooperation during my time. With our large coverage area and small staff, I wanted to recognize everyone for their talents and accomplishments. If your paper came late on more than one occasion, the fault may have been mine. Chances are that I was holding the process until the last possible second to get that last box score reported. I apologize, but for those that it affected, I hope they felt it worth it, as I did.
As district play takes place in both the boys and girls tournaments, it will be a strange feeling for me to not make the daily trips to The Convo. Those voyages gave me time to reflect on the memories I had when I was on that floor and not sitting from press row.
If there is one regret that I have, it’s not fulfilling a promise that I made to the Gilbert brothers. Their story needs to be told and I will make sure that promise is fulfilled even as I take on my new position.
In closing, I hope that you have positive thoughts when it comes to my tenure in Portsmouth. I admit there were plenty of errors on my part, each equally difficult no matter the severity.
These lessons, I will take with me as I move to the next adventure. If you don’t see me still out-and-about during my transition, I am very active in all forms of electronic communication and I’ll be willing to answer questions or listen to stories you want to share.
Cody Leist can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 294, or on Twitter @CodyLeist.