By Ed Pierce
There are people you meet in life who revel in irreverence and Andy Young is among them.
The veteran chronicler of daily life has been contributing his column to The Windham Eagle for about a month now and says he’s excited to bring his unique storytelling to an entirely new audience.
“My first published
columns showed up in the Connecticut Daily Campus when I was
an undergraduate student at UConn. I also covered New England Whaler hockey
games for the Willimantic Chronicle, which was at the time
Connecticut's second-smallest daily
newspaper,” Young said. “I later got some freelance pieces published in the
Winsted, Connecticut Evening Citizen; coincidentally they
went under shortly after that, making the Chronicle Connecticut's smallest daily. I later wrote for
the now defunct Redding Connecticut Pilot and the now defunct
Easton Connecticut Courier. The subjects were the doings of the boys’ JV
soccer, basketball, and baseball teams at the local high school.”
Andy Young will be contributing a
weekly column for The Windham
He said that he didn't put a byline on those though, since he thought having the coach write those summaries might make readership think there was some bias involved.
“Funny thing about that; no one could ever figure out why the JVs got twice the ink that the varsity did,” Young said.
He went on to serve as a baseball announcer for several minor league baseball teams including the Alaska Goldpanners, Durham Bulls, Burlington Indians, Vero Beach Dodgers, and Butte Copper Kings, but after nearly a decade working for teams in North Carolina, Florida, Alaska, and Montana, Young said that he realized he wanted to return to New England.
“I applied for the Portland Sea Dogs radio job in 1994, but they hired someone else. When it opened up again the following winter I re-applied, and this time I got it,” he said. “Give Sea Dog management credit: they clearly weren't going to make the same mistake twice.”
Since moving to Maine, Young has written columns for the now defunct Falmouth Community Leader, the still extant Yarmouth Notes, and the Journal Tribune in Biddeford.
“I had been submitting columns for the Journal Tribune or at least 10 years; I'm not sure how long exactly, but I know it was for at least four terrific encourager/editors: Drew McMullin, Nick Cowenhoven, Kristen Schultze Muszynski and Ed Pierce.”
He also had essays appear in the Maine Sunday Telegram, the Portland Press Herald, and the York County Coast Star, Young said.
“The number of papers I've written for that are now defunct is at either six or seven (and counting), so I salute the courage of the folks who run The Windham Eagle for having the courage to take me on,” he said. “Someone asked me if I was the Typhoid Mary of the newspaper business, which I suppose was mildly amusing, until Covid-19 came along.”
A single father of three, Young’s oldest son will be a freshman at UMaine-Orono this fall. He also has a 17-year-old daughter, and his youngest son will be starting high school this fall.
Young was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut and grew up in nearby Easton.
“I graduated #88 in a class of 180 from Joel Barlow Regional High School in Redding, Connecticut,” he said. “I went to UConn because: A) I could afford it; B) they agreed to take me; and C) my other options (cutting grass, waiting tables, and/or pumping gas) did not appeal to me as long-term goals at that time.”
For nearly two decades, Young has taught literacy and English at Kennebunk High School.
“I've been there for 18 years and will likely continue until I get it right. But I'll admit the longer I teach, or at least try to, the more that I learn,” he said. “Even better, the more I'm around young people, students and colleagues, the clearer it becomes that I get a chance to make a difference in the lives and futures of young people every day. What a privilege.”
In his spare time, Young said that he enjoys reading, writing, preparing innovative and meaningful curriculum for his students, biking, and then recovering from biking. He also umpires youth baseball and is a referee for youth soccer games.
Along the way, Young has met Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson, the late Peter Jennings, Dom DiMaggio, hundreds of baseball luminaries, the late former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, and the guys from the 1970s band Deep Purple.
According to Young, writing a great newspaper column isn’t something that just happens.
“If some printed words can amuse, inspire, or provoke thought from readers, that's a good column,” he said. “And if the thoughts those words provoke aren't violent or irrational ones, well, that's even better.”
He says he agreed to write a column for The Windham Eagle because the New York Times, Washington Post, Des Moines Register, and National Inquirer are all continuing to snub him.
“The truth is that I like to write, and so when I was invited to contribute to the Eagle by someone I like and respect (and who promised me the same lofty salary that I was getting from the Journal Tribune), I leaped at the opportunity,” Young said. “I like having my voice heard. Everyone's got opinions, ideas, hopes, and dreams, but not many people get a public forum with which they can share them. I'm one of the lucky few.” <