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Appeal-Democrat Sports Editor John Stevens

Unfortunately, the time has come for me to move on from my position as Sports Editor for the Appeal-Democrat.

I was raised by a father who loves sports more than anyone I know. Anytime he would drive me to school, we would always listen to the latest sports news on the radio. We made it a tradition to attend local sporting events at least once a year. And before I knew it, I wanted to make a career out of sports. 

My love of athletic completion grew the older I got and eventually I found myself in sports journalism roles in college. 

From there I landed my first job here in Yuba-Sutter – taking on a role that involved covering over 10 schools and their athletic programs. It’s been one of the more exciting times of my life and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. 

The people I’ve met along the way are true characters. The coaches, the players and the families in general have welcomed me with open arms.

My co-workers at the Appeal-Democrat are some of the hardest working people I’ve ever been around. Print journalism isn’t the easiest industry to be in right now, but they’ve exceeded expectations. They’ve had my back through it all and that’s all anyone can really ask for. 

Before I left, I decided to make a list of my top five memories in Yuba-Sutter: 

5. Bike around the Buttes

Though I may not have had the fastest time, I enjoyed every second of the ride. The kind volunteers and beautiful views of the Sutter Buttes made me wish the ride wouldn’t end. Though my legs felt otherwise. 

4. The Peach Festival 

A short distance from where I reside made this event – quite literally – a walk in the park. I shared good laughs with many of the vendors while trying out the peach pies and peach ice cream, which really hit the spot. It was an outstanding summer festival.

3. Covering River Valley vs. Yuba City football 

The Mayor’s Cup was electric. Both school’s students were loud and proud of their teams and it made my job a lot of fun. If there’s something my high school experience was missing, it was games like these where a rivalry was defined in the truest sense. Here’s to many more years of the mayor’s cup living up to its hype. 

2. Taking phone calls from local coaches 

This memory will be one that I cherish for a long time. I can’t single out just one coach because so many would always brighten up my day. My shift involved getting into work in the late afternoon so that I’d be at my desk in the late evening when coaches called in results and stats from their games. 

These conversations had it all, but more often than not they would end in laughter, which helped me turn around any slightly negative mood I had at the time.  

1. Covering Special Olympics Softball 

Last summer I made my way out to Black Burn Talley park in Yuba City to cover a regional Special Olympics softball tournament. I went into it with a regular mindset. On a time crunch, I was hoping to get in, grab some quotes, snap a few photos and get out. 

God had other plans. 

In talking with multiple athletes and coaches, I quickly learned that there was a purpose for my being there. These great participants taught me to slow down and enjoy your surroundings. A lot of the time, we take any regular day for granted and don’t appreciate the little things. 

Here’s one quote from that day by Yuba Sutter Special Olympics coach, Sean Fetters: “At the end of the day, if everyone learned something and had a smile on their face doing it, then we’re all winners.”

My time here at the Appeal-Democrat hasn’t always been easy. But between the community and my fellow journalists, I will always remember it as a time where I grew both as a person and a professional. 

Thank you Yuba-Sutter.

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