Is Union Parish a sports community? I mean a real, watch it all, sports-loving community.
I really hope so. I know I am a big sports fan.
The LHSAA football playoffs had already started when I started with our new team at The Gazette. The UPHS Farmers took their fans on a great ride, making it all the way to the semi-finals.
With the help of some special reporters, The Gazette will be bringing you reports of high school sports action from all around the parish. So many talented athletes have come from the UP. And there are many more here now.
How many of you are fans of the non-traditional sports? Everyone loves the 3 main sports at most schools; football, basketball and baseball/softball. Most are growing accustomed to soccer and volleyball, maybe even wrestling at some schools.
I found a sport I’m a huge fan of just nearly 3 years ago.
Just a little more than 4 years ago I was working and living life like normal. Then I started having severe indigestion (or so I thought) every day. It got so bad one day that I finally went to the emergency room to see if I was having acid reflux.
Well, turns out I was having heart attacks. The doctor put me in ICU and on a nitro drip. An hour later I woke up dead.
I coded in the ICU and had to be shocked and given CPR. I woke up with a nurse jumping up and down on my chest. All good now and I’m loving life again.
Sports had always been a big part of my life. I had worked in college athletics for a number of years also. Once I “healed” from my heart attack, I decided I NEEDED to get back into sports somehow.
In February of 2016 I started a sports talk show called, Talkin Sports. That show along with its Facebook page and Instagram feed (@talkinsports318 for both) is still going strong.
In July of 2017 I was given an opportunity to attend an MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) event in West Monroe. I had seen some UFC fights and was a casual fan. But this local event got me hooked.
When you ask most people if they like MMA, they think of UFC. UFC is MMA, but it’s the major leagues. The MMA I’m into happens at the local level.
Getting ready to attend that MMA event took me into a group of fighters I knew nothing about. I felt that if I was a big sports fan, but I knew nothing of all these local fighters, maybe no one else did either.
You would be shocked at how many elite-level athletes there are in our area (Ouachita, Lincoln, Bossier, Caddo, Franklin and other area parishes). I don’t know of any Union Parish fighters, but if you know of any please let me know.
Many of these athletes are former high school athletes who found another outlet for their competitivedriveafterhighschool.MostareBrazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) practitioners. They have full time jobs and train non-stop when not working. There’s a real dedication among MMA fighters that draws admiration from fans of the sport.
I’ll be bringing you news from the surrounding area about fighters and fight events as they populate the calendar.
Do yourself a favor and check out an event soon. Monroe, West Monroe and Bossier City host several events each year. I’ll be sure to let you know when the next one is happening.
Byron Avery serves as Editor for The