Long before I ever considered a career in journalism, I wanted to be a teacher.
I loved numbers, and mathematics was one of my favorite subjects going through school. I also excelled in English.
My freshmen year in college, my professor and course load wavered me toward English and writing. A couple of years into my college education, the opportunity to pursue a job in journalism with the Texarkana Gazette presented itself, and former publisher Buddy King talked me into applying.
After starting my career here —16 years ago this week— I continued to work on my degree, which I finished a decade ago this past spring.
While the biggest part of my job is words, numbers still play an important aspect in what I do as a sports writer and sports editor.
Just Wednesday, I tallied up the area football statistics for today's publication.
I planned out my time for today with sub-varsity football beginning, the Texas-Arkansas High football game advance needing to be written, along with any other sports calls and e-mails fielded by myself and my staff.
While on the subject of numbers and the annual Battle of the Axe rivalry game between the Tigers and Razorbacks, there seems to be a discrepancy in exactly how many games between the schools have been played.
I wouldn't exactly call myself a historian, but I do have it on a good account that this is not the 105th meeting as it is being touted by some. It is actually No. 104.
The series began in 1909, and the second meeting was in 1912. Then after two more years of not playing each other, the teams met for six consecutive years. That's eight for those keeping count.
Starting in 1922, the schools played the series for 30 straight years — taking us to 38 — but did not play in 1952 nor 1954. So the 1953 meeting was No. 39, and 1955 was the 40th and started a string of annual games that continues this Friday.
Let's do some math now.
2019 minus 1955 is 64, and 64 plus the 40 from earlier is, yes, 104. This will be the 104th meeting between the Tigers and the Hogs.
So there's that, not to mention the list of every game played between the teams, with the year played, winning team and score, which was handed to me by Johnny Green after he covered Texas High for much of his nearly five decades at the Gazette.
If anyone has a more comprehensive list, I might be convinced that 105 is right. But I doubt it.