orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

April 27, 2013

Time in a pressbox is time well spent

Gabriel Pruett
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — If you have never had the privilege of sitting in a pressbox, I am sorry.

These are some of the best times of my career here at The Orange Leader. I have heard stories that amaze me, I have heard stories that have inspired me and I have heard some of the funniest stories on the planet.

There is nothing like sitting in a pressbox at a football game or baseball game and talking to coaches who have eithe retired or been around the campuses for many years.

I am a very old feeling 33 years old. I have been around The Leader for many moons and see more games than I probably even realize I have seen. A rough estimate puts the number at nearly 800 games ini those eight seasons.

That number sounds tiny when I compare it to Orange Leader Sports Editor Van Wade who has probably covered 400 football games alone and also when comparing to KOGT’s Gary Stelly.

We three would all agree some of the best times of those games are the hours we spend with our friends in the pressboxes. We tell jokes. We tell stories. We also spend time talking about our lives away from the games.

We all know each other’s families and we ask about that a lot too.

One of my greatest memories I will have is something I probably take for granted even at this moment.

My wife Heather attends a ton of these games with me and not because she enjoys being around me 20 hours a day I can assure you. She loves sports.

One night at Dan R. Hooks Stadium in West Orange at a football game she pointed out how rare it must be to stand in the pressbox with Dan R. Hooks watching the Mustangs.

I had to stop and think about that one for a few. It was a thrill to stand and talk to Coach Hooks on a Friday night in the pressbox. There are a lot of people who would enjoy that, just not many from Port Neches-Groves or Nederland I would imagine.

Then there are nights like this past Thursday when I sat in Bridge City and for most of the time it was just myself, Coach Bill Dixon and Coach Dwight Thacker.

It really is an honor to be around all these men and to listen to what they have to say and to know our relationship goes past a sports reporter talking to a coach.

We have all become friends now and that is why we all do what we do. We sure don’t do it for the money. We sure don’t do it for the fame. We do it for the players playing and the friendships we make after all these years.