‘Culmination events’

Published 11:17 am Thursday, April 4, 2019

Please allow me to geek out for a second to make a broader point.

Through the establishment of a company called Marvel Studios, Marvel Comics has, since 2008, taken advantage of the opportunity to adapt many of its intellectual properties to the movie screen, creating what has become known worldwide as the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The MCU is a series of films that tells stories about different superhero characters existing in the same fictional universe, and those characters can, at times, share the big screen in particularly epic stories. On one level, Marvel Studios has actually been telling one big epic story that has been building over the course of 11 years and 21 films toward the conclusion coming later this month in the form of a three-hour-film called “Avengers: Endgame.” Marvel Studios has been billing this movie as a “culmination event.”

I couldn’t help but think that in the course of my duties as sports editor, I get to cover epic “culmination events,” and they are called college signing ceremonies. These ceremonies are frequently the result of more than a decade of hard work from a student-athlete and the parents and coaches that put the student-athlete in a position to draw interest from a college program. The college commitments that the ceremonies celebrate serve as a validation of all of the blood, sweat, tears and time invested by everyone, and for most student-athletes, it signals the final stage of their athletic careers, which will unfold on an epic collegiate canvas featuring the highest level of competition they have ever faced.

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The ceremonies often feature special guests in the audience, like coaches from years gone by, family and friends, all of whom take photos with the student-athlete after the event to commemorate the special occasion.

I recently have had the opportunity to cover two of these ceremonies.

On Monday at Fuqua School, three Lady Falcons committed to play college softball: Madelyn Bickford will be going to Mary Baldwin University, Brittany Malone will be going to Shenandoah University and Regan Ware will be headed to Ashland University.

Buckingham County High School basketball star Jayda Chambers formally committed to play for the University of Lynchburg during a ceremony March 11.

Each “culmination event” was appropriately epic and emotional — well-earned “happily ever afters” for some of the best student-athletes in the Heart of Virginia.

TITUS MOHLER is the sports editor for The Farmville Herald and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. His email address is Titus.Mohler@FarmvilleHerald.com.