Passing the torch

I have started this column several times over the past week in my head. I have even tried to sit down and tried to write some of this. It has not gone well, to say the least.

I have tried to come up with smart, witty ways to write the words I am about to write, but all of those attempts have also come up short.

I suppose that I should just come out and say what I have struggled to say this time. If you have already heard this on the radio or on Twitter, I apologize that I could not get this out sooner.

You will see my byline a lot more often than normal for the next few weeks and then much less so after that. I am moving on from sports writing for the Daily Mining Gazette. I am not leaving the area, nor the paper, however, as I have taken a promotion to assistant editor of the paper.

Yes, this means that I will not be running around on a nightly basis covering Michigan Tech hockey. Yes, this means that I will not be running around the Dee Stadium, the Houghton County Arena or the Calumet Colosseum with a camera and an iPad frantically snapping photos or writing down notes on the goal that was just scored or the big hit that was just leveled.

To all of you readers: I am genuinely sorry!

I took the sports writer position with the Gazette just under three years ago when then-sports editor Brandon Veale was still in town. After multiple conversations with him early in the hockey season, I felt that the time was right for me to apply for the still-open sports writer position.

The decision has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Many of you whom I have come across over the past two years have heard me say this, but I feel I should repeat it here. I applied for the position because of the opportunity to expand my audience for my coverage of Michigan Tech hockey. I felt that I got along well with then-coach Mel Pearson and with all of the players, and I thought I could make an impact with my writing just as they made an impact on the ice.

As rewarding as it has been to cover two trips to the NCAA tournament in the past three seasons, a WCHA playoff title, two WCHA scoring champions, and many more special moments, I discovered something even more rewarding: the local high school sports scene.

I have gotten to know a large number of athletes, their brothers and sisters, their parents and their grandparents over the last three years.

I have found it extremely enjoyable night after night to simply walk into a gymnasium, an ice rink, a baseball field, a softball field, a park, a football field, a pool, and even a track with my bag on my back filled with a note-taking device and a camera slung on my shoulder. I have also found it enjoyable to walk in and find smiling faces at my arrival.

I have enjoyed the random moments when I have been out at Wal-Mart or ShopKo or at a restaurant and ran into a random athlete whose first question to me is whether or not I was going to be covering their game that night.

I am going to miss those moments. I am going to miss the late nights and the crazy drives at night in the snow to see some game I thought was going to be a blowout by one team or another only to discover that the game turned out to be an amazingly close game that one could not help but get swept up in.

I have always tried to bring that excitement, that passion to my writing. I have always tried to help you, the reader, experience the game as I have.

I hope that I have brought you all as much joy and excitement as I have felt covering all of the varying events that I have covered over these past three seasons.

For those of you who enjoy my columns during the year, you should be happy to know that I will be continuing them on a weekly basis as best I can. I look forward to continuing the sports conversations that start at the rink or at the gym or at the field, and continue at the water cooler, on Facebook or on Twitter during and after the events.

I love this area and am extremely proud of the experiences I have had over the past few years. I also look forward to my new responsibilities at the Gazette. I believe that local sports, whether at Michigan Tech, Finlandia, or at any of the 10 high schools that sit within our coverage area, are in a very exciting place right now, especially with recent state champions in hockey and volleyball in recent years!

I look forward to continuing to hang around local sporting venues throughout the year. If you see me, feel free to stop and say hi. I will be more than happy to chat about the current game we are both watching, or about other sports, as you have likely already learned by bumping into me in the past.