Back in the Game

My name is Jake McNeal and I am your new Times-Record sports editor.

I come to Valley City from Portland, Ore., having found a great new opportunity.

But why Valley?

Because Valley City presents a new sports writing adventure, and I wanted to be the sports guy in a small town.

My wish most certainly came true.

I am already amazed at how important sports are in Barnes County. Heading the Times-Record sports page is an enormous honor and I do not take it lightly. I feel that the key to sports reporting is to write stories the way a fan wants to hear it: action, action, action all the time.

I wake up in the morning and watch SportsCenter highlights from the night before. My cell phone is more of a score alert device than anything else, and I can't be bothered with dry political commentary because nobody wins. Sports is all about escapism and imagination, and you can share the pride of your fanhood with everyone else. It's about being part of something greater.

I graduated in News Editoral and Magazine journalism from the University of Oregon in 2011, where I realized that a life in sports media was for me: if I don't play sports, I'll cover them instead!

I was the Marysville Globe and Arlington Times sports and news reporter in Marysville, Wash., from September 2011 to February 2012 before a cancer diagnosis forced my resignation.

I got healthy again and tried my hand at teaching in South Korea, but I quickly realized that teaching was not for me — sports journalism is where I belong.

When I returned to Oregon I rounded up all of my best sports writing and photography samples and e-mailed them all across this great country of ours because I didn't want to waste time in a profession that I didn't truly love.

By the power of fate, divine intervention or just good luck, the Times-Record needed a sports editor and I needed a new journalistic mission to put my skills to good use.

I welcome reader feedback because I am here to bring Barnes County the sports news you want. I'm here for you because you count on me.