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Last glimpse of spring, by Mel Hunt

An open letter to the community from Chris Brooks after overwhelming thanks and donations

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Brooks is the Editor of WellsvilleSports.com and key contributor to this site

Chris Brooks interviews Dennie Miles, something he has done over the years, after Miles used a little bingo, bango, bongo to win his Section V record 14th sectional title. (photo submitted by Chris Brooks)

Editor’s Note: For the past few years, since Gannett closed the doors of the Wellsville Daily Reporter and stopped covering local news and sports, Chris Brooks stepped up and re-opened wellsvillesports.com with the blessing of site owner Fred Pace.

He has done this for free for years. Covered games, wrote them up and made kids and coaches feel like superstars. Some were. Some weren’t. But for one day, everyone was.

Chris dropped his $2,000 lense and frustration set in. He was also frustrated he couldn’t make to as many games as he wanted. John Anderson took to Facebook with this post:

The post had 152 likes, a ton of comments and over 130 shares.

But more important, donations came in and paid for the new zoom lense for his camera!

Here is a message Chris wanted to share with our readers:

One Final Word: From me to you

By Chris Brooks, managing editor, wellsvillesports.com

Before I officially sign off for the summer, I just want to take a moment and kind of provide a reflection on this past year.

Usually seasons will come and go, but there was something about this year in particular that was unlike any other I’ve ever experienced before.

Countless games to provide summarization for, countless late nights spent putting it all together, you name it. The list goes on and on. This job is not an easy job by any means. In fact, on top of my daytime job working with my oldest brother, it makes it that much more difficult.

This past season has more than likely been the most overwhelmed and stressed I’ve ever been in what will be 10 years of doing this whole thing.

I’m someone who has become more active since last summer. Ever since my father landed in the hospital for over three weeks with a prolonged illness last April, I felt the need to make some changes in my daily life. I started going to the gym to become more fit and healthy, not only physically but mentally. I’ve lost nearly 30 pounds since I started that journey towards wellness leading up to this moment, now.

I left my previous day job back in March for this new one that I continue to work Monday through Friday. I’ve spent so much time devoting my blood, sweat and tears to provide for not only for myself, but for my community.

I’m also someone that loves to take pride in their work. Someone who really takes the time to ensure the most perfect of products. This season, after a night out grabbing photos, taking notes and talking with coaches over the phone, along with getting a daily lift in, I, on most occasions, didn’t have enough energy to muster to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

Did I also mention that during most of the time that we’ve started WellsvilleSports.com, that there was no financial revenue being funneled in from this?

Yes, I do get a small monthly transaction from my colleagues at the Wellsville Sun for my contributions, but it doesn’t even begin to cover the time and the gas I’ve spent to benefit my travels. I also broke my camera lens right before Sectionals began.

To say that I really started to feel the pressure mounted against me at the end of the Spring season, was a massive understatement. And it nearly boiled over.

After navigating through an oversaturated Sectional Finals weekend that saw FIVE Allegany County teams all compete for championships, three of them took those next giant steps forward, and two would take that last leap past the Far West Regional and into New York City to compete for a State championship.

Given my situation, that trip to the Empire State’s big stage was one I just could not make. So I did something that I rarely do — I asked for help.

I made a phone call to my dear friend, John Anderson, to see if he can give me the biggest assist I could request. And boy, did he come through. Along with his incredible journalism and the exceptional photos from Tricia Davenport from New York, I was able to see a fitting end to the season of coverage from my friends at the Wellsville Sun. An end that I hope to repay them for. So John and Tricia, if you’re reading this, just know that I thank you both for everything you have done. Your generosity is unmatched, and I will never forget it.

Through all of this madness, there was another element of surprise. I received another phone call from John on my way home from my day job. He asked if I checked out any social media recently. I told him that I didn’t. Now, my parents and some other people will tell you that I’m not really big into the social media scene anymore, with the exception of Twitter, where I post everything from my athletic travels.

So I went on to Facebook when I got home, and I saw a post that he had written. About me, and my contributions. There were multiple shares, multiple comments from far and wide in the county, likes and loves on it, I didn’t know how to react at first because it was so unexpected. But that was just the beginning of it.

Throughout the next several days after that emotionally overwhelming post, I received even more through even more avenues. Through the mail, online and at games to close out the season. Handshakes, hugs, kind words, thank you cards, donations. The amount of gratitude that was expressed to me from the coaches, the athletes, the parents, the grandparents and everyone else in between, nearly brought me to tears. Never did I think I would create such an impact for all that I have done.

All that I still continue to do.

Just this past week, I also received a gift from the Wellsville Yearbook at the school — a copy of this year’s edition that included the sports photos I helped provide for them, as well as a personalized thank you note from the advisors, Alesia Boussa and Jenn Parks, and signatures from the entire Class of 2023. Wellsville is my alma mater, and for such a gift to come from there, it means everything to me.

So to everyone across the county that took the time out to express their profound appreciation, I say THANK YOU for allowing me to tell your stories, and to highlight your schools and your athletes. You all make what I do for this amazing community worth it, and I will cherish this until the end of time.

I think the Carpenters said it the best in their hit song from the 70’s — Your love’s put me at the top of the world.

These dedicated local businesses have been consistent contributors to the Wellsville Sun and Chris Brooks sports coverage:

Giant Food Mart makes our sports reporting possible
NY Land Quest congratulates Chris Brooks
Fassett Lane supports local sports reporting!
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