The next chapter

Published 1:11 pm Saturday, July 16, 2016

When I interviewed for the job as a staff writer at The Tidewater News, publisher Tony Clark asked me about my career goals. I told him that from the time I was 6 years old, I had always dreamed of doing one of two things: either play for the Ohio State Buckeyes or cover them for a living. I’d like to think that those were the lofty aspirations of every child watching the 1997 Rose Bowl with their father like I was at that time.

I never suited up for the Scarlet and Gray — though maybe if I loved playing football as much as I do the intricacies of the game itself, it may have happened. Instead, I graduated from Ohio State and began a journey that would help me grow, both as a man and a writer.

I came to Virginia with little knowledge of the area and no experience writing about government or school board matters. But with the help of Tony, our former editor Cain Madden and fellow staff writer Stephen Cowles, I was quickly up to speed with how Southampton County works.

It’s a beautiful area — though big city life fits me better — with a lot of history. It also has some great people leading it into the future, such as county administrator Mike Johnson, county supervisor Barry Porter and school board chairman Dr. Deborah Goodwyn. Each of them welcomed me to their county with open arms, which made my job much easier. Inadvertently, they also taught me how much building a working relationship means to your success.

It wasn’t until Cain left the newspaper last July that I began to flourish in my role. Maybe it was his absence that brought out the best in me, or maybe it was Tony’s faith in Stephen and I to handle things until he found another staff writer that made me realize I had a chance at becoming something in this business.

I was ecstatic when I was promoted to sports editor of this newspaper after only nine months. I spent every Friday night in the fall covering games from the press box like I worked for the worldwide leader in sports, though I also had to maintain my government and school board workload. But, as I previously mentioned, things had finally become easy over the summer.

I ventured into pretty interesting territory thereafter, covering everything from the likes of the corruption-laden mess that is the Town of Newsoms to the never-ending fight over whether dogs should be allowed for hunting. They were both very laborious, but my dedication to investigating and finding every side to each story paid off when I won numerous awards from the Virginia Press Association earlier this year. It was an honor to not only be recognized by my peers in the industry, but also to be a part of The Tidewater News winning its third-consecutive Grand Sweepstakes.

However, as I spent more time covering the local high school teams and building relationships with student-athletes and coaches, my desire to cover sports full-time reached an all-time high.

This past year has been the most exciting of my life; I got engaged to my best friend and went on a cross-country trip with her family. It has also been one of the most difficult. This is simply because I’ve dreaded the day that I had to write this column, my last at The Tidewater News.

After nearly two years away, I am returning to Columbus — the city that I call home — to fulfill a dream of mine. Beginning Monday, I will be the football recruiting analyst and photographer for Eleven Warriors, the largest Ohio State website on the internet. In short, I’ll lead 11W’s efforts in covering Ohio State football recruiting; profile prospects and commits; build relationships with coaches, players and their families; and travel to games and press conferences. It’s a gigantic step forward in my career, and I’m extremely excited to do something that I have only dreamed about for as long as I can remember.

I would be remiss if I did not thank those who have made it possible for me to be in such a position. Tony, Cain and Stephen have been the most influential people in my career. They took a chance on a wide-eyed recent college graduate and molded me into the writer I am today. Without their guidance, I wouldn’t have been able to move away from home and succeed. I will never be able to thank them enough.

The same can be said for staff writer Rebecca Chappell and intern Walter Francis, who have essentially become my siblings.

Without our graphic and page designers — Ryan Outlaw, Retta Lomax and Crystal Parker — I would not have the sharp eye I do today. They’ve both spent hours on end teaching me the little details of design, so much so that I decided to create my own website — to much fanfare, I might add.

And, last but by no means least, my fiancée, Kayla. Her love and support is by far the most meaningful to me. Without her pushing me to be the best that I can be in everything I do, I would not have the opportunity I do now. I know that moving back to Columbus will open many more doors for her, as well.

I would not trade my last two years at The Tidewater News for anything. My only regret is that I won’t be able to say goodbye to every person that has had an effect on me. Though, maybe this column will say it all instead.

ANDREW LIND was the sports editor and staff writer at The Tidewater News. He can be reached at or at @AndrewMLind.