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Column: Get outside of comfort

I’m a simple man. I like my coffee black with sugar, my breakfast consists of fried eggs and bacon, and my dinner would be steak and potatoes every night if I could afford it.

I take the same route to work driving past Frogmore into Ferriday. Then I cruise into Vidalia to stop by the Concordia Parish courthouse to get the records for the paper.

I take Canal Street to the office after crossing the bridge. Once a week I will walk to the Pig Out Inn to have lunch.

In a way, my daily life is an episode of Gunsmoke as nothing changes a whole lot. Matt Dillon has a problem in town and he fixes it by the end of the show, that’s how a typical episode goes.

Every once in a while there will be a change in the story. A pleasant change because it’s outside of what is normal.

Thursday night I watched Festus, who acts as a sidekick deputy for Dillon in the show, navigate a moral dilemma. Dillon was in the episode a handful of times, which is rare because the show is about him. I think it’s my favorite episode of Gunsmoke in all of the episodes I have seen.

Similarly, I took a break from Pig Out Inn last week and tried Rolling River Re-Loaded on 406 Main Street. As I devoured the bourbon pork chop, which was amazing by the way, a thought hit me. By staying in my comfortable routine, I failed to explore or experience something new.

Staying in your comfort zone is one of the easiest mistakes you can make. Breaking out of the comfort zone can be daunting, but it’s all a mental battle.

Four years ago, I started fishing again because I needed some way to reflect but also enjoy the outdoors. The first fish I caught by myself without my dad there to help me was a different experience.

I was terrified to stick my thumb in the mouth of a bass for a few years due to my brain writing a news story of a 3-pound bass eating a 135-pound me. It is stupid. I got over it and now hunt or fish every chance I get. The peaceful outdoors have been a blessing to me.

Similarly, this comfort zone can have an impact on sports reporting. Most sports writers dream of covering football, basketball or baseball. It’s easy to get caught up covering the same sport every single week.

I’ll admit sometimes I fall into that comfort zone too. This week, I got to cover tennis, pickleball, and archery. Next week I’ll be making an effort to write some track stories in addition to the other “major” sports in our coverage area.

My hope is to tell as many different stories about sports and the outdoors as I can, and your help is appreciated. If you know of someone who wrestles bears, catches fish with their bare hands, plays some weird hybrid of a sport like pickleball, or anything out of the ordinary I would love to tell that story.

Challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone one time this week and I will challenge myself to do the same.

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