Eric Woodyard column: It’s good to be back home, now let’s talk sports

January 23, 2011

Eric Woodyard

I was raised on Avenue B, grew up idolizing Mateen Cleaves, listening to the Dayton Family, and still to this day I haven’t seen a better basketball player perform in person than Cory Hightower.

In 2006, I graduated from Flint Southwestern Academy. And in 2010, I graduated as a Bronco from Western Michigan University with a degree in journalism.

Don’t get it twisted though, I will always be a Knight. So when my fellow Knight Mark Ingram won the Heisman trophy in 2009, I talked trash to everyone who wasn’t on his bandwagon. Shoutout to Charlie Bell too, he still has the Knights looking good on the hardwood with the Golden State Warriors. Anthony Crater’s balling at South Florida and Quintin Woods is graduating from Kansas and looking for a shot at the NFL. That’s how we Flintstones roll.

We support those trying to make it, rep hard, and we’re confident in our abilities. It can be described as having that “dog” in you. Take Mateen, for example, fighting through that ankle injury in the 2000 National Championship and still leading his troops to victory or Ingram gaining more yards after the contact on the football field. That “dog” wasn’t put in them overnight, it was something that was put in them as children from their environment.

I understand that it’s a grind to make it from our city, and that only the strong survive. I say our city because I’m in the same situation as everyone else residing in Flint, and I generally care about what goes on. It’s our city. I care about how we are represented to the world as well as what changes are being to made to make it the best possible place to live.

This is why in some ways, even as minute as it may seem, I feel like I can make an impact by telling sports stories for our local paper. Sports has put our city on the map. It has served as our pipeline to be talked about all over the country. We have such a rich history of producing top-tier athletes. Some of those athletes have made it and others have succumbed to the pitfalls here that have landed them nowhere. I want to tell all these stories.

The toughness that I learned here has allowed me to travel all around the world and meet an endless amount of people in prestigious places and I’m always proud to tell them where I’m from. I’ve interviewed rappers, shook hands with basketball legends, took pictures with superstars but none of this would have been possible if I didn’t develop the grind that I learned in Genesee County.

If you aren’t from Flint you may not understand any of these things, and I’m aware of that. But this is my connection to the city. I am willing to serve as your voice for any sports story, past or present, that you’ve always wanted to read about. Just hit me up by phone or by e-mail. I’m home!

*this post can also be viewed on mlive.com!

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One Response to “Eric Woodyard column: It’s good to be back home, now let’s talk sports”

  1. carlos collins said

    Glad your home ! ! I really enjoy your writing. You ask the questions I wonder about. Of all your stories I think my favorite was the “Terry Furlow” story. I had heard of him but I didn’t know anything about him. That one stands out for me. Majic Johnson idolized him. A FlintStone. Wow ! ! Keep up the good work. And yes, Corey Hightower is the most talented player from flint that I have ever seen. I saw him ride a bike up to Northwestern and outshine NBA players in the Pro AM. Nuff said. Keep up the good work Eric ! !

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