Pickaway County is a little less today.
Many of you reading this likely have already heard the news that Brad Morris, the editor, co-founder and, really, the heart of the Sporting Pumpkin, passed away Saturday.
For the last two decades Brad has been roaming the sidelines and sitting in the bleachers of high school events to share the highs and the lows of the athletes and teams in and around the county.
A Logan Elm graduate, Brad was the full-time sports editor for The Herald even while working on his degree at The Ohio State University. After a brief break to finish that degree, Brad came back home and has been putting his heart and soul into our local athletes ever since.
Over the years, he extolled the glory of countless wins by our teams and athletes and shared the stories of their losses and heartbreaks with the mark of a true professional.
One of his highlights from his days with The Herald had to be seeing his beloved Braves claim an unexpected district basketball championship down at Ohio University just days before COVID shut down all high school sports in March of 2020.
With no sports to cover, his relationship with print journalism came to an end.
As fall approached and the return of high school sports was on the horizon, Brad and I spoke about covering some games and trying to keep our love of high school sports alive so that our local athletes would continue to get the recognition they deserve. Out of that conversation came the Sporting Pumpkin.
On August 27, 2020, Brad put up the first article on the Pumpkin. It was just a couple of sentences, but it was the beginning.
Last year, Brad really dug in and took the Sporting Pumpkin to a new level. The website views and social media interactions showed the work the Sporting Pumpkin was doing had value.
As the Pumpkin entered its fourth year, Brad was able to see his alma mater open a state-of-the-art facility, of which he was a big supporter, and was able to see the first varsity event in the new Logan Elm High School gym.
While Brad’s passing casts a pall over the season, the Sporting Pumpkin will forge ahead. But it will not be the same without Brad.
I am a photographer who does a pretty good job of getting his verbs and subjects to agree and generally gets the commas in the right place. Brad was a writer. You could see that in every article he wrote.
And while we worked together for a long time, we rarely worked together — he’d be at one game and I’d be at another.
If you would really like to know more about the quality of human being Brad was and what he meant to the community, take some time to scroll through social media. There are so many heart-warming posts from the coaches, administrators and players with whom Brad worked over the years. These are the people that Brad spent a lot of time talking with whether it was a win or a loss, whether the team was having a good season or not.
At this time, a celebration of life is being planned and his family is hoping to be able to host it, appropriately, at Logan Elm. We will share more details when they become available.
It has been an honor to work with Brad over these last two decades.
And when I look back at this past weekend, the Braves improved to 3-0, Ohio State beat Indiana and the Reds beat the Cubs a couple of times. I think Brad would be happy about that.
– John Howley