Last week, Ty Rushing wrote a glowing ode to me. I felt a unique combination of embarrassment and pride as I read on and on, and it became obvious that I was the sole focus of his inspiration.
While I appreciated the kind words, I have never been someone who makes a big deal out of anything happening in my life. I’ve had birthdays go by with nothing but a few small mentions, although Facebook has kind of ruined that for me. Being the center of attention has never been my goal, and at times, I’ve gone out of my way to avoid it.
However, Ty let the cat out of the bag last week about my departure. Today, as you read this, you are reading the last bit of copy supplied from my fingertips to the eyes of the Newton Daily News readers. Please, please don’t cry. I accepted a position a couple of weeks ago as the Sports Editor of the Boone News-Republican. It’s a logical next step for me as I continue to pursue some of my loftier career goals.
When Ty did that, I knew my friends would give me a good amount of man-love related ribbing, but I was surprised with the other side of the reaction. At the time, I still had three or four games to cover. During, after or before each of those games, I had a few readers come up to me and tell me that they would miss me. This probably shouldn’t have surprised me as much as it did, but like I said, I’m not one to make a big deal out of things in my life.
Throughout my year and two months at this publication, I battled with some readers over my opinions, apologized for misspelled names and misinformation, but the positive response I received over the course of those 14 months massively outweighed any occasional complaint or negative reaction.
My upbringing is so far removed from the culture in Newton that going home feels like a different country now, a different planet even. For me to be received in such an appreciative manner really means a lot. Those first few months were tough, and even though there are parts of my personality that will be strictly unique to a west coast flavor, I’m glad that can translate to different parts of the country.
I’ve had people tell me I come off as cocky or brash, but it’s simply a different mindset. My smirk has been mistaken for arrogance, my lack of engagement for uncaring, but I’ve always thought of myself as a humble person. But if I believe in something, number one — I’m going to let you know — and number two — I’m going to defend it. I think people respect my willingness to open a dialogue about certain things. After all, people who are pushovers are just no fun. If I see something I don’t like, I’m not going to let it go unsaid for long, and I hope that part of me never changes.
Ideas and mindsets evolve. People change. It’s the nature of life. I’ve changed in the past year, hopefully for the better. So, thank you to the readers who have supported me and an even greater thank you to those who have challenged me. I hope both parties understand that when I flex my typing muscle, I do so with more conviction than you could imagine.