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Simmons Says - Looking back on 15 years

By the time most read this column, I’ll be done celebrating with my former classmates at my 15-year high school reunion. It’s hard for me to believe, but at this point there are many athletes I’ll cover at WCHS this school year who weren’t born when I was walking the stage at Nunley Stadium.

I don’t know if that makes me officially old, but I’m somebody who doesn’t like to argue against the numbers. A stat like that sort of speaks for itself.

Many years ago, I was once a Pioneer like the players I cover now, though my career didn’t last very long. I played one season of basketball, highlighted by a 13-point game where I was running on fumes by the end. My teammates were laughing at me because I running the volleyball lines in the fourth quarter – I never made it to the paint on offense or defense, not exactly an endearing trait for a post player.

Though I didn’t know it then, I was actually working a job as a senior which really helped me prepare for my job now. Each afternoon, I went to WCPI, where I played the oldies and relayed local news.

For two years, I was the co-host of a sports talk show with  Jameson Bouldin and John Jenkins. We mainly argued about everything, but sometimes people listened. Back then, one of our biggest accomplishments was getting then sports editor Rob Nunley on the show with us.

Nowadays, I’m the sports guy who students want to take their picture for the paper. Seriously, I’ve been on this gig for nearly 10 years now and not a week goes by where I don’t hear, “get a picture of this,” from a player or their parent. I try my best.

As much as things have changed around here, some of it is still the same. Just before my senior year, Jimmy Walker retired as baseball coach. Now he’s a retired coach and principal – as far as I know. The baseball job did just open up… just kidding coach, enjoy the free time.

Just before my graduation, the Pioneer baseball team was eliminated in the district tournament. It went south in a hurry in the postseason as the group was no-hit by Blackman in the opening round.

The pitcher who fanned 17 on his way to the no-hitter? David Price. 

Nearly $200 million later, Price has 155 career wins in the MLB, two coming in last year’s World Series. 

When people (me included) gripe about the level of competition Warren County faces now, it’s done without considering what teams in the past had to go through.

During my time at WCHS, I first met Matt Turner. I was a 6-foot-4, 300-plus pound kid roaming the halls and one day I hear somebody yell, “Hey big guy, get over here.” He tried to recruit me to play and it nearly worked. I chickened out at the last minute.

Turner is still recruiting the hallways now and, well, I’m still the same size.

Maybe 15 years from now, somebody I’m covering will be my replacement. By then, maybe it’ll be time for me to retire too.