BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN
It really feels kind of selfish writing about myself, so I'll try to keep this as brief as possible. After a ridiculously long hiatus from working full-time (almost embarrassed to admit that it was not quite two years, but over a year and a half) I'm back with an organization that considers me an employee. I've filled out my W-4, had my picture taken and passed a drug test (probably had a belly-full of coffee that morning, nothing else).
While I still battle a strange ailment that makes it a little difficult to be on radio full-time (and I'm making great strides with a new treatment endeavor there) I can still write and cover sports and anything else as good as anyone out there. No, I'm not Paul Daugherty or Bill Koch or Joe Reedy or John Fay or any of the other talented writers out there--I'm just me.
However, "just me" as been around the block a time or two and has had the good fortune of interviewing a wide variety of people from all walks of life. Some of them have been my childhood heroes. Some are just "average Joe and Wanda Sixpacks".
I've met a President. I've met Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin from Apollo 11. I've had several conversations with members of the Big Red Machine that I grew up idolizing (Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, Sparky Anderson). I could go on, but I don't want to sound arrogant.
Conversely, I've interviewed and met people "on the other side of the tracks" also. Having gone through an employment loss and being around those in similar predicaments, I can assure you I've been humbled tremendously. I won't get on my bandwagon, but I've covered this before--the biggest form of discrimination going is AGE DISCRIMINATION.
I've been to the various groups around town and the one common denominator is that most of the folks there are around my age OR OLDER. They were singled out because of their ages and incomes and their experience and knowledge has been discounted ever since.
To some, cutting a job is cutting an existence. You take away what that person means and what that person has done and you send them away as if nothing they did ever mattered. These are people who busted their behinds working long hours, working weekends, working holidays, missing family who were loyal and faithful to many companies. In return, when things went bad, they were rewarded for their efforts by being thrown to the curb.
For these people, I will continue to speak my piece. To those companies or individuals that have acted in this manner, you don't answer to me, but you will answer to someone someday.
Perhaps your mothers didn't teach you "The Golden Rule" ?
Anyway, I'm happy to say I'll be writing (which generally comes easy to me) for The Community Press papers that are run by the Enquirer and also featured on the Enquirer's website, www.cincinnati.com.
/> I'm covering mainly high schools, but we'll see what else we can uncover along the way. I have a list of schools I'll be covering, but I don't have all of the specifics yet.
Some might not feel this is a dream job, but in my case, it ends a long nightmare. I'm looking forward to it because I spent a lifetime covering a lot of pro and college athletes who quite frankly have had their fannies kissed for quite awhile. On the prep scene, you get students and coaches who are very thankful for the coverage you may give their sports.
The beauty of the community papers is that you get to point out someone or something to an area that otherwise might be overlooked by broadcast media that is usually limited by time. Plus, when a kid's family can cut out an article and put it on the bulletin board or refrigerator, that's something special.
Where this leads, I don't know. What I do know is that I'll be forever grateful for the opportunity to get back "into the game" and prove myself again. I was privileged to have a job and success in my hometown before and I'm as determined as ever to succeed once again in the same fashion.
Right now, I'm the pitcher who was told he doesn't have many innings left, I'm the running back who they say has "lost a step", I'm the basketball player with bad knees, the golfer on the "back nine" or the punch-drunk boxer.
In my soul I know I can have a 1-2-3 inning, score a touchdown, hit the driving lay-up, sink the long putt or go a few more rounds.
You can take my job, my money, and pretend I never existed, but you can't take my mind or my heart or my faith in my ability to prevail.
Round Two is about to get underway. Game on!