A few final words…

Note: This column will be running in this week’s York Sunday News, but I wanted to post it here first. Thanks again, everybody. Please feel free to drop me a line in the future at jsclayto@gmail.com.

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A few years ago, a friend and mentor of mine gave me some advice I’ll never forgot. He told me that good sports writing isn’t really about sports at all. It’s about people.

His point was this: Strip away the rules and the X’s and O’s, and you’re left with the characters that make the games we watch so compelling. Capture them, and you’ll capture your readers.

I’ve thought about that a lot this week, as I prepare for the next phase of my career — one that will take me away from the Daily Record/Sunday News. I’ll miss a lot about this area, a place that I’ve called home for three-and-a-half years.

More than anything, I’ll miss the people.

I’ll miss my colleagues here at the Daily Record/Sunday News, an insanely talented group that is deeply committed to serving its community. I’m a better journalist because of them.

I’ll miss the thrill of covering a district and state playoff game.

More than anything, I’ll miss you all — the coaches, the athletes, the families who have been gracious with their time and willing to share their stories.

There is a certain satisfaction to working for a community newspaper — to actually feeling like you’re a part of the area you cover. I arrived here fresh out of college … my first real job. I had grown up in the Philadelphia suburbs, where high school sports stories were typically tucked away in the back page of the sports section.

I quickly found out the passion this area has for preps. I’ve tried to match that in my work.

From the very first phone calls I made, the YAIAA’s coaches have been nothing but welcoming, helpful and professional. I hope people understand the amount of time these men and women invest into their duties, often with little or no monetary compensation. It has been a pleasure getting to know many of them.

Working in such a forward-thinking newsroom has also given me a front-row look at the evolving ways in which we journalists do our jobs. In particular, mediums like Twitter and live chats have made it easier than ever to converse with our readers. I hope that dialogue will continue, even as I leave the area.

But by far the best part of my job has been getting to meet you all — to share the stories of people I otherwise would never have the privilege to know. I’ve been lucky enough to profile some remarkable folks during my time here. Some have overcome incredible adversity. People like William Penn senior and Haiti-native Anderson Novalin, or West York sophomore and two-time cancer survivor Brady Lucas.

There are many more of you I wish I could name. There simply isn’t enough space.

Those stories and those relationships will go along with me as I move forward in my career. There isn’t much more a young journalist could ask for.

And so, as I get ready to leave, I’m left with two words for the people who helped make this job so much fun.

Thank you.

About John Clayton

Prep sports writer at the York Daily Record/Sunday News.
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