Photographers are not supposed to win Fearless Forecasters championships.
Not to insult my fellow photographers or anything, but many would agree we're probably, in fact, supposed to fail miserably at anything involving sports.
But not this photographer. No, this photographer somehow managed to become a two-time Fearless Forecasters champ.
And it's much to the dismay of at least one former editor at The Evening Sun, who apparently has been known to end his occasional visits to our newsroom by saying, "Now, don't let that photographer win." He was usually offering those words of wisdom to last year's champion, managing editor Travis Lau, who always proves to be a worthy adversary in a group of talented sports writers and editors.
In fact, it was only by one game that I got the best of Travis. But nonetheless, it's now my turn to offer my own words of wisdom. Or maybe just brag a little.
Because, for me, the Fearless Forecasters have come to be somewhat of a tradition, and I think a lot of folks around these parts would say the same. Growing up, Thursday's sports section of The Evening Sun was a big deal, a cause for wide-eyed kids like myself to run home from the school bus stop to see who that guy in the paper picked this week.
"It'd better be South Western," I'd say, as I, hungry after a long day of anticipation, flipped through the paper and wolfed down another piece of Grandma's apple pie. My grandparents' farm was always my first stop on the way home, and who could blame me, with apple pie to be had.
And if that newspaper guy didn't pick my Mustangs, I'd tell everyone who'd listen, "It's just gonna make them more fired up to win."
It was probably there -- sitting on my grandparents' front porch with apple pie crumbs falling onto the fresh pages of the sports section -- that I learned about the importance of picking these Friday night games. Friday nights were and still are special here -- still a time of hopes and dreams. They were no different for me as a kid.
What's funny is I've come to find it's not just wide-eyed kids eager to see the weekly picks, but adults of all ages. And that never became more clear until I was that guy in the paper, picking the winner of the local battles on green and muddy gridirons. Most would seldom remember the pictures I had taken at those games, but they could always point out whom I had picked that week. And if -- heaven forbid -- I was wrong, you can bet they'd be sure to mention that, too. Those conversations still play in my memory.
Although my time at The Evening Sun has officially come to an end as I pursue some of my other hopes and dreams in Nashville, Tenn., I'd like to say it's been an honor to be one of the guys picking those games week in and week out as the autumn air turns colder.
And again, as fate would have it, I'd like to offer a thank you to my Mustangs, whom I picked to upset Spring Grove on Senior Night at The Corral. I was the only Forecaster to pick South Western in an upset victory that November night, which ultimately led to my one-game win over Mr. Travis Lau and his alma mater, Spring Grove.
But on the other hand, maybe I should thank Travis and my fellow Forecasters. Because, maybe, it just made those Mustangs more fired up to win.
Brett Berwager is a former photographer for The Evening Sun.