Sports & Stuff: Looking back

By Tyler Shugart Contributing Columnist
<p>Photo by Brett Shugart</p>
                                <p>Union County’s young athletes deserve our support.</p>

Photo by Brett Shugart

Union County’s young athletes deserve our support.

Over the last few years I have enjoyed my time writing for the Union Times. It started with a few articles here and there for some special events that developed into a long-term thing that I really grew to love.

I came on board to help do one thing and that was to help promote our student-athletes in Union County. Over time it grew to more than that as I wrote about the Gamecocks and other things going on in sports, but one thing remained constant and that is my passion to cover high school athletics and promote our student-athletes. High School athletes are true student-athletes who bust their butts to juggle school, athletics, family, social life, and much more. The deserve our support in every avenue. I will never give up my fight to help them get the recognition they deserve and help them in any way I can.

Union has also been blessed with some great coaches both in the past and currently. These men have given their times and talents to help mold the future generation of young men and women. These coaches are faced with a lot of adversity, especially today. A lot of times these coaches serve as role models and even father figures for some of our young people. If you know someone who gives of their time to coach high school, middle school, or even youth sports, let them know how much you appreciate what they do making a difference in the life of our young people.

I was saddened last week to learn of the closing of The Union Times. The Union Times has been a cornerstone of this community for a very long time. I remember as a child the excitement of seeing my picture in the newspaper. I think back to folks like Wishie Hines writing columns and always looking forward to seeing my name in there after we would run into him at Wal-Mart, or on my birthday. As a football fan I always looked forward to reading Col. Davis’ Inside the Swarm and Behind Enemy Lines columns on Yellow Jacket Football. Reading about old times in Union from Ralph Greer and trying to picture what it would be like to live in those times always was fun for me as a child.

One of my proudest moments in life was appearing on the front page of the Times in February of 2000 alongside Texas Governor George W. Bush, while he was campaigning in Union while running for President. He paused for about 10 minutes to talk one on one with me about question I had on tax reform. I was 14 and couldn’t vote for him but he treated me like everybody else and took more time to talk to me then he did anyone else in the room.

I got my very first job in sports media in the fall of 2004 writing for The Union Daily Times. My first assignment was covering Lockhart High School Football. Most of their games at that time were played on Thursday nights under Head Coach Dennis Cooper. I learned a lot in that first season about media, football, and being a writer. I enjoyed it and it opened some doors for me. Man I do miss Red Devil Football.

There are many people I need to thank for all the help over the years, but there are too many to name. But one person I have to name is my brother Brett. Without Brett’s help taking pictures, none of this one have been possible. He went out to every game and stood in the hot, the rain, the cold, and even once in sleet to make sure we got what we needed. I know I never paid him enough for all he did but he didn’t complain. Thanks.

The Union Times has played a part in the lives of just about every person in Union at one point or another. It is truly the end of an era in our little town. It makes me sad to see things of our past go away. It does break my heart.

I do not know what the future holds for me as far as writing goes. I hope to continue the column and covering sports in Union County. God has a plan for us all. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt who holds the future. I appreciate all the kind words over the last week and your continued support. I promise you this, I will always continue to fight for Union, our youth, and our sports. I love this town and nothing will ever change that.

Until we meet again, may God Bless you all, and Go Jackets!

Tyler Shugart is the host of “Bump and Run” from 7-9 a.m. on Fox Sports 1400 AM 98.3 FM in Spartanburg. He can be reached at [email protected]