From sports to nightlife and back again

By: Justin A. Lawson Journal Sports Writer
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I sat in the wooden bleachers at Placer High on Wednesday night sending out pictures of the legendary Earl Crabbe Gym into the deep reach of social media. Just a few months prior I was sending out photos and updates from the hottest nightclubs in the world from the “Entertainment Capital of the World,” Las Vegas.
How someone goes from covering the glitz of Las Vegas nightlife to high school basketball in Auburn could be a sad tale or a story of finding happiness. And in this case, it’s the latter.
Some of you may have read a few of my stories already in my brief stint thus far at the Auburn Journal. If you did, hopefully it was a mix between “Who cares who wrote this?” and “Oh, who’s this new guy?”
As a sports writer, I have strived to have my name known in the community for crafting well-written stories. My favorites tend to deal with topics that spark emotion or community conversation, like the near death of a star athlete or schools fighting to preserve traditions despite a forthcoming realignment.
I was born in Santa Cruz and lived in Fairfield as a youth but largely grew up in Reno where I went to school at the University of Nevada, Reno. I got my first journalism job at the Reno Gazette-Journal, first as an intern then covering mostly prep sports mixed with a bit of college, boxing and the NBA D-League.
What I learned at the Gazette-Journal was that my $20,000-plus in college loans didn’t provide as much education as a newspaper that was paying me. Somehow that formula didn’t quite work out right.
From Reno, I moved onto the Nevada Appeal in Carson City and then to Las Vegas where I worked for as a nightlife writer.
The funny thing about Las Vegas is its perception. As a visitor, Vegas is the best thing since the remote control. Whatever you want to do, you can do it in Sin City. There’s something for everyone in every price range.
As a resident, though, that polish wears off after a while. The nightclubs start to become the same with different names, you realize Vegas is really a conservative city despite its edgy image and despite having 300,000 kids in the school system, the city offers nothing for kids.
To make a long story short, my wife had an opportunity to take a job with her corporate office in Folsom. And because of everything this area has to offer between hiking; historical points of interest that don’t revolve around gambling, booze and the mob; a quick drive to San Francisco and my beloved Giants and family nearby, we jumped on the move.
So, as I sat on the bleachers trying to decipher etched-in messages from long ago, I felt comfort in my decision to leave Las Vegas and return to sports writing. Placer then cemented that feeling as it delivered a double-overtime thriller that night in the first round of the Kendall Arnett Tournament.
Thank you for taking the time to read about me and I hope to live up to your expectations. If I don’t, please don’t hesitate to let me know. And if you see me at a game, say hi. I’ll be the guy in the stands with a notepad.
E-mail Justin A. Lawson at