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franklin county times

Learning about my new home in Meridian

By By Rob Sigler
June 19, 2001
Hello. Let me introduce myself. I'm Rob Sigler, the new sports editor of The Meridian Star.
I'm looking forward to getting to know all of you who follow sports in Meridian, Lauderdale County and across East Mississippi. There are many great stories out there and I'm looking forward to writing about them.
What are my first impressions of this place that I'm looking forward to calling home? Allow me to share my thoughts in this letter I wrote to my friends back in Picayune, where I was sports editor for 11 years. It sums up my feelings.
Dear Picayune friends,
What a whirlwind start it has been for the new sports guy.
To say I've felt more than a little overwhelmed in the last 24 hours would be an understatement. But I wanted to jot down a few lines to let ya'll know how I'm doing and inform you about how quickly the sports happenings are occurring around here.
Monday morning I got indoctrinated on how sports is put together at The Star.
I answered a few phone calls and hope I was helpful to the people on the other line with their sports related questions. I've come to realize that golf is a very important sport around here, with three great looking golf courses.
In fact, one of the callers let me know about a hole-in-one that happened on Father's Day. It was Ray Durden's second hole-in-one on the 95-yard, par 3 No. 13 hole at Briarwood. He even used a sand wedge to ace the hole.
After getting the paper out, Steve Swogetinsky and I headed over to the Meridian Rotary Club meeting, where he introduced me to their members and shared some time with coach Mac Barnes, the guest speaker for the day.
Coach Barnes, if you haven't heard, is jumping back into the coaching fray as the head football coach at Lamar School, following a long tenure with his alma mater Meridian High School. He was very insightful and thought provoking. A great speaker with something worthwhile to say.
After eating our lunch, Steve then drove me around town to some of the local sporting complexes and where a few of the high schools are located.
I spent the afternoon trying to get things organized for the fast approaching football season by calling a few of the 42 high schools and requesting schedules and once again introducing myself.
That's right 42 high schools and three junior colleges are in the coverage area, compared to the four high schools and community college in the Picayune area.
In the meantime, I've been learning about all the workings of a much larger newspaper than I am accustomed to. Such as, how to work the phones and voice mail, for example. How the computer system here works. All the processes and procedures are to be followed. Like I said, it's a bit overwhelming, but the folks here have been great.
After the first day, I just crashed. I figured the second day would be much smoother. WRONG.
I came in this morning about 5 a.m. and Steve was here bright and early. We found out within a half hour that more than a few ladies from Meridian are playing this week in the annual women's MGA state am at Canebrake Country Club in Hattiesburg, including defending champion Pam Posey and nine-time champion Lou Hart. After putting together a brief story, we then found out that long-time Meridian Community College athletic director Michele Smith has announced that she is taking another position at the school.
Oh, and coming up this weekend is the second half of the State Games of Mississippi.
They seemed to have had a great turnout in the opening weekend and expect more of the same this weekend. Some of the events for the final weekend include: baseball, high school basketball, biathlon, canoe/kayak, cycling, fencing, road racing, mountain bike racing, adult soccer, swimming, tennis, volleyball and something called Western Pleasure and Mule &Donkey. A couple of sports unfamiliar to me in Picayune.
Well, it's only 7:15 a.m. and it looks like it's going to be another busy day, so I better go for now.
Take care.
P.S. Let me say that I knew sports was going to be at a much faster pace, I just didn't know it would be NASCAR pace.