Starting Monday, I will vacate the seat I have occupied for the past 13-plus years and move into my new role as this newspaper’s managing editor.
I have been involved in sports journalism for the better part of a 35-year career, so it should be easy to see why the sports world is my comfort zone. It’s where I have found high drama, incredible highs and lows, heroic acts, colorful characters, and really nasty villains.
Kind of like the real world.
So what will change in my world?
For starters, I will have to break a 35-year-old habit of answering the phone with “Sports, this is Joe.” Don’t hang up if you think you’ve reached the wrong number. Give me a second to recover.
I will have to get used to the fact that most everything is not scheduled. There is not a precise numerical system to tell us who won and who lost. There won’t always be such an obvious reason for outcomes.
I suspect there will be plenty of things that won’t change. Writers will always want more space, designers and photographers will always want to sacrifice words for art and editors will always want more answers. Readers will be demanding (as they should), unreasonable at times (understandable) and incredibly helpful (always welcomed).
I may not get calls from wrestling moms telling me their sons were overlooked in the newspaper, but I suspect I will get a fair share of calls from readers telling me about can’t-miss news. I may not get accused of loving or hating one team or another, but I’m certain I’ll still be chewed out for having an imagined bias.
Regardless of the differences and similarities, I can be counted on to do everything in my power to help this paper share what we can discover about this great community. I’ll try not to keep score.
Last Friday we all said our goodbyes to Addy Hatch, the incredibly gifted journalist who I have been asked to replace. At the office party and later at the real party, colleagues stood up and gave testimony to her commitment to this newspaper, this community and to her co-workers.
It was intimidating. I considered telling editor Rob Curley to find someone else. Listening to the speeches, I felt a little like Phil Bengston trying to follow Vince Lombardi.
I used that line when I was tabbed to replace my predecessor, Jeff Jordan. It was true then and it’s true now. Like Jeff, Addy has been incredibly supportive and assures me I can call to ask questions and vent. She may regret that offer.
The new sports editor, Ralph Walter, won’t have to go far to find me. He may be overwhelmed at the start, but trust me, the sports section is in good hands. With the same dedicated staff that I was lucky enough to work with, the sports section will only get better.
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