It's not the destination but the journey & baseball

George "Clay" Mitchell
Press Argus-Courier
George "Clay" Mitchell, Press Argus-Courier Sports Editor [For Print Only]

If there's a question about me going anywhere it must be followed up with another question: Was there glitter involved?

If the answer is no, then I'm not leaving the paper.

It's been a strange year and the close probably is probably one for the books. At least for me, it is. New deadlines compounded the issue of the past week and for that, I apologize. We have that worked out and think it will become better and better as we go forward.

I just hope you'll continue to take this journey along with me. I'm not ready just to give up right now.

When I began in the newspaper business the internet was barely in its infancy and we were still mailed "free hours" to surf the world wide web with discs from AOL. You also had to use a phone line to connect to the web.

Fast forward and it's rare that person won't have access to a personal device. 

At the peak, the Press Argus-Courier had 35 people working in the building on Cherry Street. I would lament and say there's only just three of us but that's not true. There are a bunch of people behind the scenes trying to get out the news and coverage. 

It's not the same as it was back then. It's different. I understand that but the times are different. People are consuming news differently. Not only do we have to compete with how the news is consumed but with all the other distractions for our attention. It was different when there were just three networks and PBS. Now, we have cable, streaming services with on-demand entertainment, and again... our personal devices, computers, and consoles to distract and in some ways both inform and divide us.

This division that we're experiencing... we let it happen. We wanted an us-vs.-them mentality. We share more similarities than differences but instead of coming together to celebrate those similarities we have become more divided. It's easy to turn it around if wanted but we have to make that choice.

I believe there is one thing I believe was detrimental to reaching this point: We took baseball out of the classroom.

Opening day for baseball used to be a really big deal. Why did we let that one slip away? It was such a big deal when I was growing up we would get out of class to watch the first Houston Astros game of the season. All the classes would gather at Yeager Elementary School (I think it was named after Chuck's parents) in a spot that normally reserved for watching other events of national importance like the space shuttle launching.

When I attended junior high in Houston, the same thing repeated on the first day of baseball season but it was confined to individual classes. It even happened at Ramsey Junior High in Fort Smith and later at Southside... at least one teacher who would show baseball on opening day.

It didn't matter if you were a baseball fan or not, we were uniquely united in those moments. 

We don't allow those moments to happen. It'll be hard this holiday season to seize those moments as do what we have to protect our loved ones. We should let these moments unite us and I hope you'll stay with me and the Press Argus-Courier.

It's like the speech in "Field of Dream" when Terrence Mann said that the one constant through all the years of America is baseball.

Until we see each other on the baseball field.