MURRELL COLUMN: I can’t exactly say good riddance to 2015

Published 8:10 am Friday, December 25, 2015

Eight days ago, I participated in one of the most important events of my tenure here to date.
It was held in downtown Port Arthur. Guys like Joe Washington, Shane Dronett and the Babineaux brothers helped provide the backdrop. The honored young men were dressed for the occasion and were amazed at all the scenery around them.
The Nederland football players had fun digging in the dirt on the first floor. Then they came up and joined the Port Arthur Memorial and Port Neches-Groves players to gaze at all the sports history so carefully curated by the Museum of the Gulf Coast.
To my surprise, television cameras were there to capture the moment. Right then, I was reminded: The Port Arthur News’ Super Team is something super.
I hold onto the football we used for the photo ops. I even stopped midway through this column to grab it from my car trunk and tote the Wilson. I haven’t owned a football so authentic since my 1991 Herschel Walker-stamped ball went into my grandmom’s front-lawn cactus. (It’s OK; he was a Viking then, not a Cowboy.)
It’s a Super Team, but I wanted each player to stand out with ol’ Wilson in his own way. Hence my idea for this year’s cover.
I even wanted the players to do their own poses with it, but as Gabe Pruett told me, their mothers might not approve of the ideas they may have had in mind. The only things I wasn’t going to allow was spiking the ball and improper touchdown dances.

Production of this year’s Super Team doesn’t end what’s been for me and The News an eventful 2015. Memorial and Lamar State College-Port Arthur will do that this coming week with the respective James Gamble Basketball Tournament and Seahawks New Year’s Classic. If you risk getting bored, spend your time and money on some great local basketball with your neighbors.
The end of 2015 just makes me think back to everything I’ve been through in personal and professional realms in nearly five months. I came here not just seeking better in both aspects, but I made the mistake of seeking perfection. That can neither be defined nor attained. The idea is to play the hand you’re dealt each day better than anyone else in your table, not run away from taking chances.
I was forced to take chances this past summer. My sports editor role was cut in my own hometown. I stayed on another month after the Fourth of July. I still had too much to offer in the sports world. I wanted to be somewhere with a better quality of life. I chose Southeast Texas.
I joined The News on Turtle Creek. We moved to Memorial Boulevard. All while rebuilding this section, I also rebuilt my life in ways you might not understand. The new people in it, from coworkers to the communities, gave me the bricks. I just had to bring the mortar.

We still have an end to reach, and I have to do it with factors no one in my position before me had to embrace. So, that may explain why some things have been done differently.
I could sit here and analyze how to reach that end, but we just need to show you daily.
This is not an award-winning column you’re reading. It’s a chance to tell you I’m ingrained here and I’m stopping at nothing to perform with the end in mind.
The year 2015, for all its faults, was only pivotal in my life. I had to go through it to have a chance at a better 2016, as much as I would like to forget some things about this year.
It’s time to have a great Christmas and grow into a better 2016. Have a great holidays and don’t forget to bless your food.

I.C. Murrell can be reached at 721-2435 or at On Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

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About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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