Congratulations to the Lady Buffaloes for their decisive 68-39 win over Patrick County in their first-round play of the basketball regionals Monday night at the Alan Cantrell Court of Floyd County High School.
The boys take on Patrick Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. on the same court.
As a photographer normally assigned by The Floyd Press to cover athletics, I should have been at the game, but a leg hobbled by a severe infection and injury has me hobbled, off my feet and off work for at least this week. I won’t, sadly, get to the game Tuesday night either.
For me, it is doubly sad, because this month marks the 60th anniversary of the Press hiring me full-time to report on news, sports, and features while I was a student at what was then the new Floyd County High School.
I hadn’t planned to return to the Press when we moved here from the National Capital Region of Washington in 2004, but Wanda Combs, the editor of the Press, asked me to photograph a football game, which then became more games, followed by assignments to cover the Board of Supervisors, then Circuit Court and that became a contract job with Media- General Newspapers of Richmond, which owned the Press.
The Media General connection provided an unexpected loop, because I sold my first news photograph to the paper in 1960, after I crawled through the woods of Prince Edward County to capture, on film, a meeting of the Ku Klux Klan. Prince Edward had closed it public schools in a racist attempt to prevent integration. At the time, I was an elementary school student at the school the county closed before it opened an all-while “private” school and blocked any public education for Blacks or other minorities.
Taking that photo made me want to become a newspaperman and it became my primary passion for the six decades that followed.
Today, at age 75, I am not as young or healthy as needed to work the sidelines of sporting events, and sit all day on hard seats to cover courts or other functions. I suffer chronic bronchitis, which kicks in during respiratory ailments, plus loss of at least 85% of hearing in my right ear and 50% in the left. Hearing aids have no effect on improving any ability to hear voices that used to be easy.
It will take time to recover from this round of injuries and problems, just like it did in 2012 when my motorcycle encountered a black steer on a dark U.S. 221 near Cave Spring and Bent Mountain.
Injuries take their toll. So does age but I’ll be damned if any of that will keep me away from photographing sports and other events. To me, such activity is life.