Sports have been a part of my life since the start. And they’ve always been intertwined with the beauty of the Lowcountry.
From kicking around a soccer ball on the majestic beaches of Hilton Head Island as a young child, the thrill and excitement of athletic competition captivated me and became a mainstay of my life from then on. The greatest memories I made in my early years happened on the soccer field, baseball diamond, and golf course.
There were few better days as a child than going to see a baseball game, whether it was a short car ride to Savannah to catch the nearby Class A Sand Gnats or a pilgrimage to Fenway Park to see my beloved Red Sox. There is a magical feeling of making your way to a ballgame as a kid that even rivals Christmas morning. I’m not sure if it was the majesty of the ballpark, the smell of the hot dogs and cotton candy, or the signature sounds like the crack of the bat, but it all turned into a few hours of heaven on a summer night.
When I was watching a game on television, attending one in person, or reading about my favorite teams and players in books and newspapers, I wanted to be a person who would tell those stories to the future generations of fans. Whether it was calling the action from a press box or writing it down to the masses on paper, I aspired to be the outlet to celebrate these superheroes who work so hard to give us lifetime memories (hopefully more happy ones than not).
So I started doing whatever I could to find opportunities to help be a part of these stories on an island where sports are more than just a pastime, but a way of life. Although nothing beats going to see a pro baseball game, the magic of witnessing a showdown under the Friday night lights or a back-and-forth hoops battle in front of a passionate crowd was incredibly special. I loved to exhibit my enthusiasm as a child, so sharing my passion over the microphone was a dream.
The opportunity finally presented itself as a freshman at Hilton Head High. I began as a public address announcer for the varsity girls soccer team and used my passion and excitement for the game to inspire a dynasty unlike any we’d seen in the area. But some of my other memorable moments as a Seahawk happened as a fan. From Michael Julian’s game-winning jumper at the buzzer to knock off rival Bluffton in 2012, to a thrilling 2013 Bridge Bowl win aided by future college and NFL star Poona Ford (after giving up 80 points to the Bobcats just a year before), to the year-in and year-out dominance of the girls’ and boys’ soccer teams, my experience here wouldn’t have been complete without those memorable moments alongside the Seahawk faithful. But I didn’t want to just sit on the sidelines. Running was an activity that took me away from the daily grind and taught me how to persevere through any menacing challenge. I never forgot the camaraderie and thrill of competing in cross country while representing my school on the trails.
Those experiences took my passion for sports even further, and I wanted the next chapter of my life to give me an opportunity to continue that love while receiving a world-class education. Davidson College, the former home of a little basketball recruit named Stephen Curry, was the absolute perfect fit. My love of reading stats and box scores grew into a love of mathematics, and I got to tie my coursework all the way back to my childhood memories. I spent my Davidson career working with the men’s and women’s basketball teams, analyzing and charting data to assist with their goals on the court. At the same time, I took my writing skills to the next level, composing articles on ideas to improve sports analytics in the NBA, MLB, and even World Cup soccer. In my final year at my alma mater, I started an analytics group for the volleyball team and became a valuable part of helping coaches build their practices and student-athletes prepare for upcoming games.
But even when I was crunching the numbers in and out of my coursework, I wanted to accomplish one of the dreams of my childhood: becoming a play-by-play announcer. After a bit of experience at the high school level, I reached out to the athletic department about the prospect of calling games. Not long after, I was hired to call soccer, baseball, and lacrosse games for the Wildcats. The four years I spent on the call for the Atlantic 10 Network and ESPN+ produced some of my most favorite memories ever. There was nothing better than being the first to celebrate a winning goal or a walk-off hit and serving as the voice for family, friends, and fans to remember them by. During the years, I grew lasting relationships with student-athletes who put in so much work to achieve success at the Division I level. Narrating their triumphs was the best part of my work, and it was something I hoped to continue to do after my time at school was done.
And that is what led me here to LowcoSports.com. After years of experience documenting athletics with my pen and my voice, I wanted to find a way to continue it and meld it into a career. And why not start it off in the beautiful South Carolina Lowcountry where it all began? This island community has done so much for me over the years that it felt it was time for me to do it for the Lowco. When I first met Justin Jarrett, I promised myself to provide the best coverage possible to student-athletes, friends, family, and Lowcountry sports fans (just like myself growing up). My work started with just a weekly podcast, but now it’s become so much more. And with the recent addition of Colleton County to our coverage map along with Beaufort and Jasper counties, it’s only just getting started.
And now, I’m introducing my own weekly column to discuss my thoughts on the local sports scene and beyond. I’ll touch on topics that mean so much to myself and others living in this beautiful paradise that is the Lowcountry.
So on behalf of myself, Justin Jarrett, and all of us at LowcoSports, we thank you for reading and supporting our local sports coverage. It’s something I knew I wanted to do from the earliest days, and it’s been a pleasure to celebrate the achievements of our amazing student-athletes. I look forward to creating even more lasting memories in the years to come!
Wes Kerr is a graduate of Hilton Head Island High School and Davidson College. He reports on local sports for LowcoSports.com and is the producer and co-host of the LowcoSports Lowdown and Lowco Hoops Reports podcasts. Follow him on Twitter at @wkerr317.