What would you rather be other than a sportswriter? Mark McCarter once pondered the question and came up with a mischievous Top 25 List" response, which he shared in public print. The answer is the same thing Id have said in third grade major league baseball player, astronaut, cowboy, race car driver," he wrote. He also said he looked forward to happily boring any future grandchildren with tales of watching Nicklaus at Augusta, Herschel Walker, Brooks Robinson, Greg Maddux, Dale Earnhardt at Daytona, and covering the game when Hank Aaron passed Babe Ruth on the all-time home run list. Some of his past and present colleagues at The Huntsville Times, where he has worked since 1998, thought No. 10 on McCarters Top 25 list" mightve been the best of the bunch: I once drank a milkshake every morning trying to put on weight. Silly me. Just a few years later, I realized that drinking beer for dinner would accomplish the same task." McCarter, who grew up in Chattanooga, credits his late parents, Dot and Frank McCarter, for sparking his early interest in journalism. They were always supportive and proud," he said. After Daddy died, we were cleaning out his office and found a stack of 50-75 sheets of paper columns that Id written and that he read on-line and printed out to share with Mother and others. They bought my first typewriter and always encouraged me to read. He loved newspapers." McCarter began his newspaper career in 1970 as a high school stringer and go-fer at the Chattanooga News-Free Press. He worked there 19 years, covering UT-Chattanooga basketball and football, the Lookouts baseball team and a wide range of other beats from football to auto racing. From 1989-92, he was the sports editor of The Anniston Star, managing a six-person staff. He then worked five years in the private sector before joining The Huntsville Times sports staff in 1998. Since coming to Huntsville, McCarter has covered 10 NCAA Final Fours, 13 Daytona 500s, four BCS national championship games, five Super Bowls and the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. Hes a four-time winner of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Associations Alabama Sportswriter of the Year" and was the Alabama Sportswriters Associations Sportswriter of the Year in 2003. He has collected dozens of state, regional and national writing awards from various media organizations. In 2012, he was inducted in the Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame, and in 2014 he published a widely acclaimed book titled Never a Bad Game, a definitive baseball history of the Southern League. The longtime sports columnist now writes a regular general interest column focusing on politics, space, local news and current events for The Huntsville Times/Alabama Media Group. His former editor, Joe Distelheim, recently sent the following congratulatory email after learning of McCarters induction into the Huntsville-Madison County Athletic Hall of Fame: Youre in my sportswriter hall of fame. If anyone wanted a reason why, Id say that youre good because you dont think yourself too good to cover your community, that you put as much skill and effort into a column about someone or some thing local as into one about a big time event. I always appreciated that." McCarter has a daughter, Jordan, and two stepsons, Miles and Jackson. He is married to Patricia Cavanaugh McCarter, a gifted writer in her own right. Many great things happened for me after coming to The Huntsville Times," he says, but the obvious No. 1 was meeting that tall, pretty brunette they hired as a general assignment reporter about 15 years ago."