For the first week and a half or so of our coverage of the Flood of ’94, I spent most of each day anchoring. Saturday July 16 was my first opportunity, since the night I spent on the flooding Kinchafoonee, to get out and do some reporting.
Some places were still under water, but the cleanup was underway in other neighborhoods. My news director suggested I do a story about how people were trying to return to their normal lives after so much tragedy and disruption.
As we sat in his office brainstorming good ways to tell that story, he said he knew of a youth baseball tournament that should include some teams from areas that were flooded. I grabbed a camera and headed over to Sherwood Park.
I found a game between South Dougherty County and Lee County. I asked if there were a player whose home had been flooded. There were several, but I chose to see if 13 year-old Johnathan Woodham would talk to me. He said, “sure.”
I interviewed him in the dugout during the game. Interviewing kids can be dicey. Often, they don’t say much. That wasn’t the case with Johnathan. He gave one of the best interviews I’ve ever conducted. He was also the hero of the game.
20 years later, Flood Baseball remains one of the most memorable stories I’ve ever done. When people ask if I have a favorite story from my career, it’s the first one that comes to mind. Sometimes a reporter gets lucky and runs into an awesome person with an awesome story to tell. That’s what happened to me that day, thanks to Johnathan.
Click on this link to watch Flood Baseball.