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Connecting the community

By Bobby Tingle

Team sports have been a part of my life since I was very young. Participating on little league baseball and football teams offered me the opportunity to get to know my peers and their parents. Many of the players and I developed relationships early that carried on for a decade of seasons. We knew each other pretty well. Parents were ‘coach’, or better yet, the creator of the corn dog in the concession stand I always begged for. During my children’s years of participating I was able to enjoy the experience in other ways. Along with other parents we filled the shoes of timekeepers at swim meets, dugout manager and ball fetcher at basketball practice.

I learned two valuable lessons from my team sports experience. First exercise and physical activity are good for you. I still enjoy a good workout. The other is a sense of community and the value of teamwork. Gathering with others on a regular basis to pool time, talent and resources to achieve what cannot be achieved alone. Apart from that process much of what we take for granted each day would not be possible.

Communities are composed of a variety of individuals with unique personalities, talents and goals. But somehow all the variety comes together to achieve common goals. Sometimes that involves compromise, sometimes conflict and inevitably competition.

Recently I became a part of an organization that has been a part of this community for many generations. The Orange Leader has participated in this community for over 140 years. This is my second tour of duty with this newspaper. The last time I worked here was thirty years ago. Much has changed. People, businesses, buildings and other organizations have come and gone. As I attend meetings and grand openings I am beginning to get to know the people who currently make this community work. I look forward to many years of doing just that.

Our Reader Advisory group, the second one convened in the past year, met for the first time in October. We have plans for three more meetings. In these meetings we get to listen to our readers as they respond to their experience reading our newspaper. Our job after listening is to respond and report. We also get phone calls, emails and folks walking in the door to talk to us. What you have to say, what you think, what you would like to know and what you would like to have done are important. The Orange Leader is a great place to be a part of that community conversation. Join us in that conversation. Call, write or come by. We are listening and we want to talk.

Bobby Tingle is publisher of The Orange Leader. He can be reached at bobby.tingle@orangeleader.com