Greetings, West Orange County!
My name is Chris Martucci, and I’m your new sports editor.
I know I have a hard act to follow in outgoing editor Troy Herring, who guided this sports section to multiple Best Sports Section honors from the Florida Press Association. Although his abnormally large shoes may intimidate some, I embrace the challenge. I know you held high expectations for this section, and I want you to know I intend to live up to them.
Of course, you probably expected that kind of a statement, and I don’t expect you to believe me right away. After all, I’m a born-and-raised Missouri — the Show-Me State — boy, so I have no problem with showing you in the weeks and months to come.
You Gators will probably not like to hear this, but I am a proud Missouri Tiger. I recently finished my master’s degree at the University of Missouri — Columbia School of Journalism. And although I was born in Fresno, California, I spent most of my formative years in Southwest Missouri. I moved in 2001 to Joplin, Missouri, with my family when I was 4 years old.
If Joplin sounds familiar, it’s because we were that town that got hit by that tornado 10 years ago. Thankfully, my family and I were not affected by that freak storm. It went over my house, around my subdivision and totaled the one across the street.
I had a pretty normal childhood growing up — went to school and enjoyed after-school activities. Swimming was my main sport. I was good enough to earn a scholarship to Ashland University, a Division II school in Ohio. I finished my undergraduate work in 2019 before moving on to Mizzou. While at Ashland, I swam distance freestyle, butterfly and the 400 individual medley — basically the toughest events in swimming.
Through swimming, I learned a lot about perseverance, goal-setting and hard work. I carry those attributes with me in everything I do. This job will be no different.
Although my background is in swimming, I’m a fan of all sports and have covered everything from football and baseball to hockey and soccer. My favorite sports teams include the St. Louis Cardinals and Tampa Bay Rays for baseball; Orlando Magic for basketball; Anaheim Ducks for hockey; and the Kansas City Chiefs for football.
At this point, you may be asking: Why would a Missourian choose West Orange County? I always had my eye on potentially living in Florida — and Orlando, specifically — for as long as I can recall. I love it for more than the weather and the theme parks. I wanted to be here because of the great sports and athletes in the area — and especially for all the great stories waiting to be told.
Covering state championships and deep playoff runs will be fun, but I am most excited about getting into the community and meeting everybody. I know it is a privilege and a responsibility to tell the stories of this wonderful sports community, and I am ready to do it accurately, honestly and fairly.
Are there irresponsible journalists in the world today? Sure. However, I promise to tackle this job ethically and with integrity. At the end of the day, it’s not about me. It’s about the community I am serving.
I am excited to be here, and I hope to serve the community to the best of my abilities.
And if you have a story idea or suggestion, you can contact me directly at [email protected].