My time is up, and I thank you for yours

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 14, 2007

In Robert Frost's famous poem &#8220The road not taken,” Frost describes a traveler who is at a metaphorical crossroad in life, having to decide which path to take.

The traveler takes a long, deep look at both paths and decides to take the one less traveled by, and he closes by saying that taking that path made all the difference.

I, too, have come to a crossroad in life and have chosen to take the path less traveled by.

As of July 5, I will no longer be the sports editor at The Greenville Advocate as I have taken another position at the Shelby County Reporter, a sister publication of The Advocate.

The decision to leave Greenville was an arduous and laborious decision to make, but I feel it is the right decision for me at this time.

As many of you know, sports editors, like coaches, come and go and I just hope I have left a lasting imprint on this community and this county.

When I first arrived in Greenville, I was skeptical about everything.

I was skeptical of staying here, I was skeptical of the people I work with and I was skeptical of the future of athletics in this county.

To my surprise, and pleasure, I did not need to be skeptical about any of these factors.

I have loved being here, I absolutely adore the people I work with and the future of Butler County athletics is as bright as ever.

In the first column I wrote as The Advocate sports editor, I stated that it was my personal mission and the mission of this paper to do what we could to update the facilities, both academic and athletic, in the county.

I also wrote that in order for The Advocate sports section to be what I hoped it could be, I would need the help from you, the parents and community.

I feel we have succeeded beyond my expectations in every way.

Not only is a new school being built in Georgiana, improvements to schools and athletic facilities all over the county are being made and that is a big credit to the school administrators and you the public.

Also thanks to you, The Advocate was awarded General Excellence honors and Best Sports Page honors during the recent Alabama Press Association Better Newspapers Contest.

Thanks to people like Mike Looney, Kathy Murphy, Bryant Vincent, Ernest Hill, Brad Horn, Victor Smith, Ronald Boggan, Johnny Mack Brown, Donna Sunnycalb, Josh McLendon, Rodney Bush, David Brantley, James &#8220Speed” Sampley, Reggie Mantooth, Josh Beverly, Keith Taylor, Kenny Burkett, George Till, Glenn Branum, Jean Katz, Joseph Dean, William Champion, Mike Middleton, Jerry Hartin, Randy Williams, Miles Brown, Dexter McLendon, Jerome Harris, Gregg Fuller, Brenda Mitchell, Amanda Phillips, Bryan Reynolds and Danny Foster, our jobs at The Advocate have been made easier, which makes it easier to get information out to the public.

Although I could thank almost every person in the county for helping out over the last year, these are just a few of the people who went that extra step to make sure pertinent information made it into the newspaper.

While the new sports editor has yet to be named, I know The Advocate will find a quality person to take my place.

Just as you, the public, did for me, I ask that you continue to work with the new sports editor to ensure athletics in Butler County are properly covered.

As you've seen, with your cooperation, good things can and do happen.

I will continue to write in the space for the next three weeks before it is officially time to say goodbye.

I hope to be able to say goodbye to each and every one of you before I go, but if don't, please know that your hospitality and friendships will be eternally appreciated.

As the late great Jim Fyffe, former Auburn University play-by-play man, used to say as he signed off his broadcasts:

&#8220My time is up, and I thank you for yours.”

Austin Phillips is The Greenville Advocate sports editor and can be reached by phone at 334-382-3111 ext. 122, by fax at 334-382-7104 or by e-mail at austin.phillips@greenvilleadvocate.com