If I was able to get to know two talented young professionals in the span of only two weeks in the dead of summer, I can’t wait to see what I’ll witness once school starts.
I didn’t know what to expect when I first arrived in Palm Coast.
(I know, this sound exactly like the beginning to my last column. But, trust me, it’s different.)
In my introductory column a week ago, I talked about my past as a sports writer for The Independent Florida Alligator — the student-run newspaper at the University of Florida. In my year and a half at The Alligator, I was fortunate enough to watch and write about some of the most talented athletes I have ever seen in person.
In addition, I also discussed my Miamian heritage — if there even is such a thing — in last week’s column. Keeping in line with the focus of this column, Miami — and South Florida, in general — is a massive pool for athletic talent. And that’s not even to mention the four major professional teams in the area.
So I say again: I didn’t know what to expect when I first arrived in Palm Coast. I had not even the slightest idea of the degree of athletic ability I would pay witness to as the Palm Coast Observer’s new sports writer.
Instinct told me I probably wouldn’t be exposed to too much talent. Most of Florida’s top-tier athletes are typically congregated in the more metropolitan areas of the state: South Florida, Orlando, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay and so on. Yeah, sure, there may be some outliers in Florida’s smaller communities, but not as a rule.
Or so I thought.
I’ve been in Palm Coast for a full two weeks now.
(And as a side note, I’ve loved every second of it.)
But in my two weeks — and before the high school athletic season has even started — I’ve already been introduced to incredible talent not indicative of a relatively small community.
A week and a half ago, I met 15-year-old professional surfer Hannah Blevins, who competes in surfing events that regularly span the globe. And I also got to interact with 19-year-old tennis star Reilly Opelka, a former Junior Wimbledon champion and current ATP Tour member.
If I was able to get to know two talented young professionals in only the span of two weeks — in the dead of summer, I might add — I can’t wait to see what I’ll get to write about once high school sports actually commence.
Again, Palm Coast: I’m impressed.