I know not every “A Look at Times Gone By” article connects with every reader, but, boy, have I had a fantastic time digging up the details over the past couple of months.

Each article I start begins with a collection of sentences — the “Times Gone By” entries that have appeared in our newspapers since 2015. From there, I head upstairs here at Enterprise Media Group — by going past Business Manager Tracy Prettyman, up two flights huffing and puffing, through the advertising department and, finally, by sneaking past Associate Publisher Chris Rhoades' office — to the archives.

Once I arrive, I'm surrounded by a wealth of history in the form of newspapers dating back to 1895 (maybe even earlier). So, I get right to flipping pages and find that its hard to stop. The headlines draw the eye, but so do the decades old ads. Everything's changed.

Unfortunately, it seems that community sports have changed, too. Reports note crowds in the hundreds for everyday ballgames, not just district finals and rivalry contests.

They also show a wealth of adult participation. At some point, we stopped playing community sports as much as we once did.

Now, I know that not everyone has given it up. Support for Bears, Eagles and Pioneers remain strong in our communities, but it at least seems like it used to be so much more. It feels like not everybody recognized everybody at each game.

And, I'm sorry, I don't mean to single our county out. In the first stop of my full-time journalism career, we couldn't get full bleachers for first round football playoff games. That's alarming because it was a town of 30,000 with just one school to rally around.

I know we'll not be able to fill the stands anytime soon, but I hope we do when we can. Sports of all levels lead to special moments and they're made all the more special with you there. That's what the history I'm flipping through tells me at least.

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