Being the sports information director

By: Aaron Jackson for The News Messenger
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I have been writing for the Lincoln News Messenger in some capacity for the last two and a half years. I began by writing columns when I was on the boys golf team at Lincoln High School.

I wrote an article each week on our matches, providing my personal thoughts and experiences while on the course. It was a chance for the reader to see the game from an athletes’ perspective.

Once I finished high school, I was given the opportunity to come back and write additional articles on other Lincoln High sports.

My start wasn’t actually with The Messenger; it was with the school newspaper, Zebra Tales.

I joined the journalism class my sophomore year and began writing articles on various sports teams. As the year continued, I was given the role of sports editor, a position I held until I graduated.

With assistance from my journalism teacher, Debbie Tofft, and various editors, my writing improved and I developed a system. It is the method I still use writing for the Lincoln paper. 

In August 2016, Jim Linsdau, sports editor of the Lincoln News Messenger, suggested I volunteer as Lincoln High’s sports information director; it’s a job I still hold to this day.

My first year, I wrote about one article every other week. But since August of this year, I have increased to at least two articles per week. It has been a phenomenal experience because I have been able to cover multiple athletes, coaches and sports that I could not do in high school.

I created my own series called Where Are They Now that deals with athletes who graduate from Lincoln and continue their athletic careers in college. It has also been an honor speaking with multiple coaches and doing miniature biographies on them.

The hardest part of my role is taking a backseat to being a sports fan and staying focused on the game. I have managed very well, but there have definitely been moments where I couldn’t help expressing emotion.

What can I say? Once a Zebra, always a Zebra.

A favorite piece of mine was on Lincoln football head coach Chris Bean, who was selected Pioneer Valley League Coach of the Year in 2016.

As for my opinion pieces about athletes and the national anthem, and my Where Are They Now articles, I honestly don’t have a favorite.

Although writing and conducting interviews takes time, it is something I enjoy. I couldn’t be happier for the opportunities LHS and the city of Lincoln have given me.

Thank you to Debbie Tofft, Jim Linsdau and everyone else who has helped me along the way to reach my true potential. I look forward to seeing what my future holds.