IF THE HAT FITS: Returning gratitude to sender

It all started with a mostly blank envelope.

I mean, sure, it had the address for the McAlester News-Capital. But I was taken aback when I was told I had mail.

“Me? Are you sure?” I asked office supervisor Jule Everly.

But there was no mistaking it, as my name was clearly written on the envelope. I felt like a young Harry Potter when he got his first Hogwarts letter in Sorcerer's Stone.

I held it up to the light, and after determining there wasn’t a snake inside — which was impossible, by the way — I opened up the envelope.

Pulling out the two sheets of notebook paper and taking notice of the handwritten care of the contents, I began to read.

The letter began with gratitude for the coverage I’ve provided since Jan. 28, and transitioned into civil discourse over this year’s girl’s basketball All-Area team.

Complete contents of the letter are between me and the sender, who signed only as “Old Player and Coach.”

I smiled as I read the letter over again. Here was this person who not only read our paper — side note: thank you for that! — but they took the time to sit down and write out their thoughts and feelings to send them in.

I’m a child of the technology age. I spend a lot of time in digital realms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, etc. But here I was, holding words in a more physical form. Feeling the smoothness of the paper, hearing the sounds it made as I turned to the next page.

There was something comforting in that fact. And even though the sender and I disagreed on some selections, we still connected across the ethos thanks to a pen and a little witty banter.

I know I’m not perfect. Far from it, to be honest. But I’m working hard to continually get better and make sure that I do the best job that I can.

I love talking sports, especially discussing local athletics. So if you see me around, don’t be shy. I'll talk shop with anyone, so let’s talk, let’s disagree, and let’s connect. Sports are the ultimate escape, but they’re also one of the strongest forces that brings people together.

In the craziness that is life right now, it’s nice to be reminded of that again.

Signed, an Old Player and Sports Editor.

Contact Derek Hatridge at dhatridge@mcalesternews.com

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