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After a brief time on the bench, it’s good to be back in the game

Weekly column will follow student athletes and recognize standout performances


A funny thing happened on my way to full retirement, leaning back in my comfy chair and watching reruns of “Law & Order.”

I got bored. Quickly.

After nearly 40 years of covering high school sports for The Fayetteville Observer, Up & Coming Weekly and CityView, I thought it was time for a break.

I tried to stay active on the periphery, posting high school sports news on social media, listening to games on the radio or watching them on the National Federation of State High School Associations network — when the camera was working.

But watching other people do the coverage without having a chance to talk to the coaches and the athletes and help tell their stories began to gnaw at me.

I worried a fossil like me had little hope of coming off the retirement bench and getting back into the game. There was little chance of a “Rudy”-like moment in my future.

A few weeks ago, my friend Greg Parks of the Fayetteville Sports Club reached out to me to compile a news release on the latest class of inductees into the club’s Hall of Fame.

I made a few phone calls, talked to some Fayetteville legends who were members of the 2023 induction class, and wrote an article that I shared with some media outlets.

To my surprise, it was well received. Then I got a message from the former general manager at the Observer, Tony Chavonne, the publisher of CityView magazine and online newsletter CityView.

He wondered if I was interested in returning to the job I left at CityView a couple of years ago. 

After some discussions, we settled on a weekly column, which will appear online each Friday. The content of the column will vary. Sometimes it may be assorted odds and ends I’ve discovered from the local high school sports world. Other times, I may devote the column to a single story or to an editorial topic that I have strong feelings about.

Each week, we will also recognize an Athlete of the Week with a photo and a short summation of what the athlete accomplished.

To do that, we’ll need nominations. The eligibility period each week will run from the previous Thursday to midnight Wednesday, and I’ll make the selection on Thursday morning. 

The nomination must include a head-and-shoulders photograph of the athlete taken with a high-resolution digital camera. Email all photos and nominating info to earlvaughanjr@gmail.com. The nomination can be for an outstanding single-game performance or for an outstanding performance in multiple games during the weekly nominating period.

If you have story suggestions or tidbits you’d like to share, send them to the same email address.

I look forward to being back in the game and sharing the stories of coaches and athletes again. I hope you’ll find the results of my efforts entertaining.

Thanks in advance for reading.

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