Russell Huffman

It was less than a year ago that I wrote one of these “new guy” columns over in Mineral Wells as I began writing about the exploits of the Rams and Lady Rams. Still, recent changes in the newspaper industry have me penning another “Hello Dolly” piece as I introduce myself to the Parker County sports fans.

Some of you are probably aware the 120-year-old Mineral Wells Index closed its doors more than a week ago as it became a casualty of the economics of COVID-19 restrictions.

What does that mean for sports fans in these communities?

It means the Weatherford Democrat will flex its muscles and provide sports coverage for the bigger schools in the area while also highlighting the exploits of teams in towns like Brock and Graford etc.

Doesn’t that sound easy?

It’s not, and it won’t be until we get the roadmaps all lined out. That will mean every time I introduce myself to a coach (I guess we will have to foot-tap or elbow rub to say hello), I will also be asking about skilled local photographers — who would like to work on the sidelines of games shooting sports.

If you are not a skilled photographer, there is still hope for you as training and shooting tips are free 100% of the time.

For those who may be wondering about the football preview magazines that have been published in your community over the years: We are already working on this year’s publications – including one for Mineral Wells.

I hope I have assured that we have a game plan in place, and sports coverage is here to stay.

Now for a little information about me.

I graduated from Hanau American High School in West Germany and was an Army Brat for a good part of my pre-college life. I attended Tarleton State University, where I studied criminal justice and minored in journalism (mainly photography), and I was commissioned as a second lieutenant through the ROTC program there.

One day while working at the J-TAC newspaper, the sports editor quit in a huff, and I uttered the words I would later regret, “I can write better than that guy.” 

The paper’s advisor Mark Grear didn’t bat an eye as he showed me the way to my new desk before he made his way over to the supply cabinet and grabbed three new red-ink Sharpie markers.

Between the two of us, we must have increased the Sharpie marker company’s stock value a good 10 percent as I would plow through run-on sentences and sprinkle in comma splices like Miss Piggy puts on makeup.

Neither of us gave up on the other despite my copy being returned to me, looking like it had served as wrapping for a raw rump roast.

My military obligation led me away from Texas for a while, and if I told you what I did, you would not believe me.  

Eventually, I got more and more into newspapering, and it led me to work around the area for publications like the Dublin Citizen and Stephenville Empire-Tribune.

As I got better, there were photo credits and bylines in publications like the Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, Western Horseman and The Sporting News.

I would go on and on about what a great fisherman I happen to be, but that would leave us with little to talk about when we meet in person.

I am looking forward to meeting all of you so I can hear about the legendary exploits of Aledo, the return to dominance of Weatherford, and how a young Mineral Wells is ready to rise.

If you want to bounce ideas off of me or you know someone we should spotlight, give me a call on my cell at 254-485-5236 or drop me an email at sports@weatherforddemocrat.com.

Recommended for you