When I was putting together the article detailing Bruce Harper’s favorite memories as the sports editor at the Bee-Picayune, it occurred to me that it is probably appropriate for me to give thanks for what I have.

It’s been five great years here in Beeville for me.

I’ve covered some great athletes and teams, worked with some outstanding coaches, developed some amazing friendships and, most of all, had a boatload of fun doing it.

From the moment I started here in Beeville, the people of this community have welcomed me with open arms.

I’ve been invited to share in family dinners, encouraged to visit whenever I see fit and asked – even encouraged – to attend holiday gatherings by numerous families.

For folks in this community to so quickly adopt me as one of their own is truly something special and something quite rare for people in my line of work.

It’s even more rare to see coaches so willingly accept a media member into the fold.

It’s often quite difficult to build relationships and that general sense of trust with coaches when you’re in my business.

It’s been quite easy with most of the coaches here, though.

I’d like to think that it’s been that way because they see that I’m invested.

“Sports journalists” often aren’t invested in their community, especially those who are working at small newspapers.

I guess it’s a good think I’m not a “sports journalist.”

Yes, I cover sports, and I work in the journalism field, but I’m, first and foremost, a member of this community.

That means I want to see success.

I want Beeville to win.

I want Skidmore-Tynan to win.

I want Pettus to win.

The coaches, I think, know that, and so do most of the athletes, and their parents and families.

And I want to thank all of them for trusting that I want to see them succeed.

To the coaches, I say thank you for bringing me into your inner circle and for trusting me to tell your team’s story.

To the parents, I say thank you for trusting me to tell your son or daughter’s story.

To the athletes, I say thank you for trusting me to tell your story.

More and more over the past few years, it’s become something of a common occurrence for the student-athletes of this community to greet me with a wave, a smile and sometimes a hug.

When I first got here, if I got a greeting at all from an athlete, it was usually a quiet, “Hello, Mr. Keller.”

Now, though, it’s usually a boisterous, “Hey, Kevin,” followed by – or sometimes proceeded by – a smile and wave reminiscent of Forrest Gump when Lieutenant Dan shows up on the docks to board the shrimp boat Jenny.

That level of comfort and acceptance might not mean much to some people, but it means a whole lot to me.

And, for that, I say thank you.

Kevin J. Keller has been the sports editor at the Beeville Bee-Picayune since 2014. He can be reached by email at sports@mysoutex.com or by phone at 361-343-5223, or you can follow him on Twitter @beepicsports.