Thirty years of memories

Dec. 12, 2013 @ 05:12 AM

“I think I’ll take a moment, celebrate my age

The ending of an era, and the turning of a page

Now it’s time to focus in on where I go from here

Lord, have mercy on my next 30 years.”— Tim McGraw

The opening stanza of Tim McGraw’s hit single perfectly describes my feelings over the last few days. My 30th birthday was yesterday and I feel like celebrating.

Some people may see turning 30 as depressing. After all, I am no longer in what I like to refer to as “the roaring 20’s”. So my carefree days are supposedly over. But I am far from depressed. How can I be? As Star Trek’s Dr. McCoy would say, “What’s so darn depressing about not having died?”

God has blessed me so much over these last three decades. I’ve made many wonderful memories. Others have not been so wonderful, but I want to focus on the positives. A lot of those memories center around sports. So in the same vein as ESPN’s 30 for 30, I present Jacob Conley’s 3 for 30, as in my three greatest sports memories from the last thirty years. (I could easily do 30 for30, but space is limited).

These sports memories don’t necessarily center around the play on the field. Those memories sometimes fade. What I won’t ever forget is who I shared those moments with.

3. Covering baseball at McNair Field

From Thomas Jefferson, to the Easter Tournament, to the Owls, I’ve had a blast covering games at McNair Field over the years. Not only has the play on the field been great, for the most part,  but I’ve been able to forge friendships with people that make all those long nights and looming deadlines worth it.

I’ll never forget Tony Helton playing George Jones or Barry Manilowe songs and yelling “Struck him out!” He knew how to make even the most one-sided games interesting.

During the CPL season covering the Owls, you sit next to the same people night after night. Baseball can sometimes be a slow game, so it gives you time to get to know them or in some cases, know them better. Their friendship lasts long after the final out.

2. Attending Panthers games

It has become a ritual of mine to go to one Panthers’ game every season. Since 2005, I’ve gone with good friend Tim Jackson. We have sat through cold, heat, wins and losses.

The best part though, is just going to the game with someone who likes football as much as I do. It’s nice to have a kindred spirit who is more vocal than you are on a key third down or who isn’t afraid to voice his displeasure after a bad call.

I think the best part for Tim is during the pregame introductions when I jump because of fireworks. I have never seen anyone laugh as hard as he did when I spilled my french fries on the person in front of me in 2007. I guess that’s all part of the experience and I hope to have many more like them.

1. Going to Gardner-Webb basketball games

I’ve sat in the same seat at Paul Porter Arena for 11 years. I can’t give you the Bulldogs’ win- loss record during that period, however, I do know who sat next to me for most of that time, my good friend Lanny Newton. He was reluctant to go at first, but once I convinced him to go to his first game, we went to them all, both men’s and women’s.

While cheering for the Bulldogs an argument would start, usually about global warming. Our debate began during the second media timeout and it would continue at each stoppage of play. At the end of 40 minutes, we each declared ourselves the winner. We would either pick up the same debate or start a new one at the next game.

Those are my three favorite sports memories of the last 30 years. I’m sure I will witness many more over the next thirty. There will be game winning shots, spectacular catches and many other memorable moments, but I’m sure the best memories will still be those made with others. I can’t wait to get started.  

Happy birthday to me!

“I think I’ll take a moment, celebrate my age

The ending of an era, and the turning of a page

Now it’s time to focus in on where I go from here

Lord, have mercy on my next thirty years.”— Tim McGraw

The opening stanza of Tim McGraw’s hit single perfectly describes my feelings over the last few days. My 30th birthday was yesterday and I feel like celebrating.

Some people may see turning 30 as depressing. After all, I am no longer in what I like to refer to as “the roaring 20’s”. So my carefree days are supposedly over. But I am far from depressed. How can I be? As Star Trek’s Dr. McCoy would say, “What’s so darn depressing about not having died?”

God has blessed me so much over these last three decades. I’ve made many wonderful memories. Others have not been so wonderful, but I want to focus on the positives. A lot of those memories center around sports. So in the same vein as ESPN’s 30 for 30, I present Jacob Conley’s 3 for 30, as in my three greatest sports memories from the last thirty years. (I could easily do 30 for30, but space is limited).

These sports memories don’t necessarily center around the play on the field. Those memories sometimes fade. What I won’t ever forget is who I shared those moments with.

3. Covering baseball at McNair Field

From Thomas Jefferson, to the Easter Tournament, to the Owls, I’ve had a blast covering games at McNair Field over the years. Not only has the play on the field been great, for the most part,  but I’ve been able to forge friendships with people that make all those long nights and looming deadlines worth it.

I’ll never forget Tony Helton playing George Jones or Barry Manilowe songs and yelling “Struck him out!” He knew how to make even the most one-sided games interesting.

During the CPL season covering the Owls, you sit next to the same people night after night. Baseball can sometimes be a slow game, so it gives you time to get to know them or in some cases, know them better. Their friendship lasts long after the final out.

2. Attending Panthers games

It has become a ritual of mine to go to one Panthers’ game every season. Since 2005, I’ve gone with good friend Tim Jackson. We have sat through cold, heat, wins and losses.

The best part though, is just going to the game with someone who likes football as much as I do. It’s nice to have a kindred spirit who is more vocal than you are on a key third down or who isn’t afraid to voice his displeasure after a bad call.

I think the best part for Tim is during the pregame introductions when I jump because of fireworks. I have never seen anyone laugh as hard as he did when I spilled my french fries on the person in front of me in 2007. I guess that’s all part of the experience and I hope to have many more like them.

1. Going to Gardner-Webb basketball games

I’ve sat in the same seat at Paul Porter Arena for 11 years. I can’t give you the Bulldogs’ win- loss record during that period, however, I do know who sat next to me for most of that time, my good friend Lanny Newton. He was reluctant to go at first, but once I convinced him to go to his first game, we went to them all, both men’s and women’s.

While cheering for the Bulldogs an argument would start, usually about global warming. Our debate began during the second media timeout and it would continue at each stoppage of play. At the end of 40 minutes, we each declared ourselves the winner. We would either pick up the same debate or start a new one at the next game.

Those are my three favorite sports memories of the last 30 years. I’m sure I will witness many more over the next thirty. There will be game winning shots, spectacular catches and many other memorable moments, but I’m sure the best memories will still be those made with others. I can’t wait to get started.  

Happy birthday to me!