While Hanks (Philadelphia, 1993; Forrest Gump, 1994) and Tracy (Captains Courageous, 1937; Boys Town, 1938) won consecutive Best Actor “Oscars,” Hepburn (Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, 1967; A Lion in Winter, 1968) and Rainer (The Great Ziegfeld, 1936; The Good Earth, 1937) were voted the Academy Awards’ Best Actress two straight years.
I am deeply honored and touched to be joining such illustrious company as I humbly accept the Reader’s Choice Best Columnist award for the second year in a row.
While last year’s award came completely out of the blue, claiming the crown again this time around has taken me off guard as well.
With the number of wonderful writers on the Banner staff who have been publishing such tremendous, insightful columns on a wide array of subjects — ranging from “dos and don’ts of a first date” to defending Godzilla to deep theological thoughts — I am deeply honored to have been even remotely considered for this award, much less to be voted as your favorite.
While some have suggested I bolstered my sporadic column writing by making sure I had some good stuff during the “sweeps weeks” of the May voting period, I assure you there was no ulterior motive involved.
I mean can I help it that Mother’s Day fell the second Sunday in May? It always does and my dear, sweet mom turned 90 this year, so I gave her some extra love in print for all she means to me.
Some have also hinted that the second week of the voting period, I played on the public’s sympathy by writing about a personal injury I suffered in the line of duty. It’s not like I ran on to the field in the middle of the action. I was in the far end of the dugout when that foul ball locked on me like a heat-seeking missile and nailed me right on the ankle bone.
Just an update on that, after a couple of weeks of hobbling around in pain, I’m fine. Nothing was broken, just a severely bruised bone and ego.
I have noticed that nothing has been done about the open dugouts on the Cleveland High softball field. You guys have a lot of bricks laying around from the Raider Dome demolition. How about taking some of them over to the Brenda McKenzie Lawson Field to build half walls that protective netting can sit on before somebody gets really hurt? By the way nobody has come by to pick up my offer of a $20 donation to help correct the dangerous situation.
When it comes to the Reader’s Choice contest, I do realize I have a distinct advantage over the other Banner writers in that I work in the Sports Department. By doing so I deal with two things that are very important to our readers — their children (or grandchildren) and their school loyalty.
Unlike some of my colleagues, the vast majority deals with “positives.” I get to write about and take photos of the exciting victories not only on the field of play, but many times in the lives of the athletes as well.
While losing is also a part of competing, I try my best to look for the positive spin I can put on defeats.
Although I make no secret about being a Bradley Central graduate and bleed Black-and-Gold, I am genuinely thrilled when Cleveland High, Walker Valley and Polk County win. I am also disheartened when any of our teams lose (a victory is much easier to write up than a loss).
When our local teams play each other, I try my best to be professional and unbiased in my reporting. I am impressed with the hard work and dedication all of our coaches and athletes and feel it is my job to give credit where credit is due.
While I have been called a “diva” by a couple of paginators (Tasha Stephens and Jenny Hoffman) when it comes to the layout of photos, stories and pages, I freely admit to wanting to put out the best product possible for our readers.
In this day and age of instant access to world and national news and sports information, being able to produce quality, locally generated stories and photos is paramount to the success of newspapers like the Banner.
I’m proud to be a small part of providing our subscribers with something they enjoy and look forward to on a daily (except Saturdays) basis.
Thank you again for bestowing on me this great honor as your favorite columnist. I will strive for a “three-peat,” but the competition is extremely tough with this year’s runner-up William Wright breathing down my neck, as well as veteran writer Brian Graves joining the Banner staff with guns blazing.
The youthful collective voices of Delaney Walker, Saralyn Norkus, Christie Armstrong and Joyanna Love are being heard from as well as longtime Banner staples Bettie Marlowe, Gwen Swiger and Richard Roberts chiming in.
There is one other guy who keeps hanging around as well. When I was looking through old Banner issues from the late 1980s to confirm some information for a column last week, I saw a much younger photo of associate editor Rick Norton.
While his “Inkspots” columns have graced the pages of the Banner many more times than my Cannon’s Corners, it would be rude of me to point out that he has yet to win a Reader’s Choice award, while I now have two.
Don’t worry Rick I won’t rub it in. By the way, I apologize for interrupting your high-level meeting with our former Banner cohort Allen Mincey the other day to gloat a little while I was dancing (no I wasn’t doing Paula Abdul’s cold-hearted snake dance) around the office with my certificate.
That was wrong of me. Especially since you’re my boss, I mean my friend. I’m sure you finished a very close third in the voting, or at least fourth or fifth. For sure you were in the Top 10.
Sorry Rick, I thought the third time would be the charm. Better luck next year. You have my vote. Oh wait, I’m not allowed to vote.