The Zak Zone

A few months ago, someone asked me what my dream job would be. I told them that being a sports reporter would be the ideal position for me.

My passion for sports, writing and photography could all be blended together somehow to make the perfect position to fit my talents.

Unfortunately, I didn't realize this truth before I pursued my advanced education, and when I went to college, I studied mathematics and earned a master's in religious studies afterward.

Luckily, after moving back home last summer to be closer to family and beginning my job search, I eventually stumbled across an opening for sports reporter at The Punxsutawney Spirit, and I went out on a limb to apply.

Similarly, The Spirit went out on a limb and hired a "local boy" with no past journalism experience.

Despite my lack of experience, I have an inherent passion, not only for sports, but for local sports.

I am proud to call Punxsutawney my hometown. I was born and raised here.

Over the past few weeks, I've been covering Little League All-Star games at the same Little League field where I hit a game-winning, RBI single down the right field line to move the Deeley/Dereume Dodgers into the playoffs some 17 years ago.

Don't let that fool you, though. That single may have been my only hit all year.

In the upcoming school year, I'll be covering games in the same gymnasium in which I spent endless hours during my high school years at Punxsutawney Area High School, between gym class, intramurals and cheering on the basketball and volleyball teams.

While playing the games well has never been my specialty, I have always had a love for anything related to sports.

I inherited my love of football and the Pittsburgh Steelers from my father.

I inherited my love of baseball from my late grandfather, who taught me to love the game he played so well, even though I played it so poorly.

And, I inherited a love of photography from my mother, who always used to follow us around recording every family memory with her camera.

I recognize how special it is to see a loved one's picture in the local paper. The Spirit is the same newspaper I used to rush to the mailbox to open the day after one of my brother's All-Star games, hoping to see a picture of him or read his name in the recap.

In fact, I still cherish a copy of a picture taken of him making a play at home plate in an All-Star game the year he and his teammates advanced to the state finals in the Little League division.

It is an honor and a privilege to cover sports for my hometown. Likewise, it is an honor to have the opportunity to capture these priceless moments in Punxsutawney sports history with the camera lens and pass them on to a community that is passionate about its sports and its local athletes.

I am thankful to The Spirit for giving me this opportunity, and I promise each and every reader I will do my best to cover every aspect of the local sports experience to the best of my ability through every season.

Punxsutawney, I look forward to working with you and to working for you.