You might have noticed my absence in these sports pages last week. I decided it was time to take a road trip to Nashville. You really oughta go sometime, but that’s not why I’m writing this piece this week.
My first story published in Citizen’s News came almost six (!) years ago. It was the Aug. 29, 2008, edition of this newspaper that featured my column, “‘You Play Like a Girl’ has New Meaning.”
Yep, I staged a fake tryout for the Woodland girls volleyball team. I didn’t make the cut, but it was pretty neat to see my name in print for the first time.
The last edition of CN in which I didn’t have a story was March 13, 2009. When my streak ended last week, it had reached 275 straight issues. Actually, until I started writing this column, I hadn’t realized it. Now I can look back and call it my own ironman streak!
But the reason I bring it all up right now is this: This is my final piece as a regular contributor to Citizen’s News.
It’ll take a while for it to sink in for me that I’m no longer going to be writing for the paper at which I started — the place that gave me a start and watched as I turned from a high schooler who didn’t really know what he was doing into a college grad … who still sometimes doesn’t know what he’s doing.
Before we all get too wistful (or too celebratory, depending on your side of the fence), I’m not really going anywhere. Next week I start full-time in the Republican-American sports department, so I’ll still be at plenty of local games and covering the two high schools that have been best to me.
You’ll still see my name here from time to time when the editorial staff decides to borrow a piece I’ve written for the Rep-Am, in case you don’t subscribe to our parent daily. Hopefully not a whole lot will change, because we’ve still got some great correspondents in Ken Morse and Ernie Bertothy and editorial staff in Elio Gugliotti and Luke Marshall to pick up my slack. I think CN has the best weekly sports section in our state, and I’m confident it will stay that way.
Why, though, did I bring up my consecutive stories streak? It was 275 straight weeks of work, in the strictest sense. But I don’t remember more than a couple of them ever feeling like a job.
I remember most of them leaving me feeling incredibly lucky that Woodland journalism advisor Jim Amato gave my name to former sports editor Callum Borchers back in the summer of 2008.
I remember most of them leaving me feeling incredibly dumbfounded that I stumbled into something that pays me to watch sports — and in many cases, my friends — close to home.
I remember most of them leaving me feeling incredibly proud that I was able to write stories that ended up as keepsakes and memories for many.
Finally, I just want to thank everyone who has ever taken the time to read one of the estimated 1,000 pieces I’ve written in my time at CN. I always enjoy catching up with readers — again, in many cases, friends — at games, and I’m thrilled that you’ve let me be a small part of your week for the last six years.
I received a letter a few months ago from a reader in Florida. He had just read my feature on the Pinho family and thanked me for writing the story in a tasteful manner. He concluded his letter with the following: “Citizen’s News is fortunate to have someone of your caliber working for them.”
I appreciated that very much, but I must turn it around. I’ve been fortunate to have an area of this caliber to start my career, and I’m thrilled to be able to continue it right here at home.