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It feels good to be back

For four months, I struggled with something I would never wish on anyone else, unemployment. It was an experience unlike anything I can easily describe, and not one I am looking to go through again any time soon.

When the Daily Mining Gazette let me go in May, it took awhile for the shock to set in. I do not blame the publisher and the management team behind him, as I made a mistake that cost the paper more than just ad revenue. I spent the next four months reflecting on that decision.

To anyone I hurt by running that inappropriate letter to the editor, I am truly sorry. I know that is not enough, but I am. I thank those who continue to support me, and I fully understand that there will be some who will never trust me again.

Whether that mistake cost me future opportunities or not, I cannot say. However, I fully believe that unemployment is a horrible experience as it sits now.

Due to leftover issues from dealing with COVID, the state did not get to my case until nearly four months after my filing. I am forever grateful that they backdated my funding, which helps, but trying to understand the backup was not easy. I spent hours on the phone, in chat rooms, sending emails, just to eventually find out after 12 weeks that they had not even seen my case yet.

The job search experience was equally disappointing. In this unique market where employers need workers, we as a country are suffering from a combination of employers offering too little compensation, employers making unreal demands in job descriptions for even entry level positions, and job seekers with far more experience than the average candidate.

For example, I interviewed for one job where, as it turns out, they conducted some 14 or 15 initial interviews, including multiple interviews with candidates who had 10 or more years in the field of the position, which, for me, would have constituted a career change.

It was hard to stay patient. I had a number of interviews and a number of emails informing me that I did not quite fill the boxes the employers were looking to fill.

In order to combat the inevitable feelings of anxiety that come from the unknown, I tried to take some time for myself over the course of the experience. I took a 10-day trip to Germany to visit my girlfriend. We visited Cologne, which was a fantastic place. We took a bus tour of the Ruhr Valley, which was a lot of fun, despite the heat.

Upon my return home, I jumped into golf and hockey, playing golf six or more times a week and hockey three times a week. Each time I stepped on that ice or stepped on that green grass, I was transported away from my worries for a couple of hours while I focused on the next shot or the next pass.

I cannot thank my friends and acquaintances I have made through hockey over the years. You all have touched my life in ways I cannot describe. Thank you all for helping me.

Another life moment helped shake me from my doldrums, my daughter got married in early September in Cleveland. That was an experience in itself and might warrant a column down the road on the travel experience, but I am very proud of her for taking another big step in her life.

As for me now, you may have noticed I am back with the Gazette as the sports editor. It feels good to be home, in a way. Sports have been such a big part of my life, and I am excited to share my passion with you the reader again.

We will continue to be covering Michigan Tech and Finlandia sports, along with as much high school action as we can get to. I am looking forward to this challenge, and I know that the Copper Country is as passionate as I am when it comes to sports.

We just had a great weekend with the Copper Bowl football game and Michigan Tech volleyball bouncing back from a slow start to their conference schedule. Huskies football returned home and played tough against a nationally ranked Saginaw Valley State squad. Also, kudos to Lake Linden-Hubbell’s football team for hanging with a very tough North Central team that is on an incredible streak at the moment.

This weekend, Michigan Tech hockey returns to the ice on Saturday with an exhibition game against the Lake Superior State Lakers, who are coached by former Huskies assistant Damon Whitten. Whitten just added former NHLer Dwayne Roloson to his staff as the goaltending coach, which should be interesting.

The Huskies will also play another exhibition on Monday against Lakehead, so we should know a bit about the new faces in Black and Gold soon.

Welcome aboard readers. This should be a fun year full of surprises as we navigate the sports seasons.

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