Although New Year’s is almost two weeks in the past, it’s time to give a vote of thanks to all those who help make News Messenger Sports possible. I started as the Messenger’s sports editor in June, just about the time the Little League postseason was getting started. Beginning a job like this just as school is letting out has both advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is community sports are largely baseball and softball. It narrows the field, where school-year athletics can include up to five or more sports in a season. The disadvantage is not having a local center, like a school, where everything takes place. I eventually got to know Rob Higgins and Ray Garcia, who both managed Lincoln Majors baseball teams and finished No. 1, No.2 in the local league. That led to my acquaintance with Haley Manley, who works for the same company as I, and her assistance continues to this day. Haley introduced me to everyone I needed to know, and did photography for the News Messenger as well. When Little League gave way to the Jr. Zebras Football, Haley not only does great photography, but she helped recruit Greg Easter. Easter did a super job covering a very successful Jr. Zebras season. By default, I was also introduced to high school rodeo. I knew it existed, but I did not know how big it was. Thanks to Kathy Prendergast and Thomas Roach, District 3 is getting some of the coverage it deserves. As fall brought Fighting Zebras football, volleyball, cross country, golf, and soccer, Lincoln High Athletic Director Donna Tofft brought me up to speed on the blue-and-gold. That led to coaches Ken Lowe, Amanda Retallack, Doug Croall, Tim Allen, and Jason Treanor. I also need to give a vote of thanks to Zebra Tales’ Debbie Tofft and her students. Thanks to their reporting a scheduling snafu during Lincoln’s homecoming was averted. And special recognition to Evan Colley and Travis Deuerling, who took their journalism skills to the next level and served as correspondents last summer. Last, but not least, correspondent Andrew Hazard. Andrew was a journalism student at California State University Sacramento. Circumstances are such that Andrew cannot make it to games, but his sports writing skills helped News Messenger Sports expand coverage that would not otherwise have happened. To close, a tip of the hat to Gold Country Media sports editors Bill Poindexter, Matt Long, Todd Mordhorst, and Mike Ray, and editor Carol Feineman. Together we hope to make 2012 our best year yet.