By Tessa Jackson

Fifteen years ago, if someone would have told me that I would be writing a sports column for the Mountain Messenger, I would have told them they were crazy. The writing part makes sense, I’ve always liked to write, but sports?! I never liked sports growing up. I didn’t love playing them, I was small and timid and not very athletic. I thought sports on TV were super boring. I did, however, love watching the Downieville Warriors basketball games. I guess it was because I was invested, I had someone to root for; and maybe I didn’t know all the rules, but I knew I wanted Downieville to win. And we were pretty good back then; I’m sure everyone remembers a packed gym and a crowd that wouldn’t keep quiet for anything. Banging on the bleachers and yelling, it was so fun.

I played basketball in junior high, only because it’s Downieville and my friends made me. But honestly, I didn’t like it, mostly because I was shy and I didn’t want anyone to look at me back then. I still remember being in a game and getting fouled; it was the scariest moment of my life being on the free throw line. Twice in a row I didn’t even hit the rim. I quit basketball in high school because the other girls were too intimidating. Luckily, back then there were enough people that they didn’t need me.

Somehow, someone talked me into joining Mary Johnsen’s tennis team my senior year of high school; thank you to whoever that was! It was a great experience, and I learned I’m not quite as terrible at sports as I always thought I was. Now when I meet people I can tell them I was on the number two mixed-doubles team in the league; no need to mention what a small league it was.

In college, I went to a couple Chico State basketball games, which were fun. And I declared to my roommate, who was a 49er fan, that I was a Raider fan; and little did I know that would end up sticking later in life. Sports really became a passion of mine when I met my now-ex husband, but still friend, Brad Jackson. I had no clue what I was in for, I just wanted to hang out with him, and he wanted to watch sports. There was a spot open on the fantasy league he did with his friends so he asked me if I wanted to join, and the rest is history. Brad was an excellent teacher of all things sports. I’ve heard there are people who you can’t talk to when they are watching, that was definitely not Brad. He taught me pretty much everything I know. Ironically, I always joked that even if Brad and I break up, at least I will still have sports. I have so many great sports memories with Brad, from going to Nashville to see the Raiders play the Tennessee Titans, to the day when Tom Brady came back and won the super bowl against the Atlanta Falcons, and even our wedding reception which was held at a Reno Aces baseball game. I’ll always be grateful to him for giving me sports, thanks Brad!

Well, I wrote all this to tell you guys that I need another break from writing. I love sports so much, but I am not happy with the level of commitment I’m giving my article. Carl has been doing an excellent job keeping up on some of the local stuff, and I hope he keeps it up. Thank you to everyone who read what I wrote; I’m sure I’ll be back again someday.

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