A little more than four years ago, I hit a crossroads in my career. I wasn’t far removed from an extensive batch of layoffs at my job in Indianapolis, my first out of college. That might have been a blessing in disguise, but that doesn’t mean it was fun to go through.
But I knew I wanted to work in sports, and I was now forced to hit the job boards extra hard. I landed a part-time gig with my hometown Indiana Pacers, working game days and being a part of a pretty fun video crew.
Still, that gig was only part time. Where the heck would I go from there? Those were jobs. I needed a career.
I stumbled across a job opening at The Sheridan Press on journalismjobs.com. I had visited Sheridan a year earlier and could see it as a place to get my feet wet. After some interviews and apparently some pretty good convincing on my part, publisher Steve Woody and editor Kristen Czaban hired me, and I was off to the sports-media races.
Now, four long, fulfilling years later, I say goodbye to The Sheridan Press and the Sheridan community. Beginning Sept. 4, I’ll move into the role of digital media content manager for the Indiana University women’s basketball team.
It’s a bittersweet goodbye for me, I guess. I always knew the day would come and had an idea as to the path I’d eventually take, moving on to a larger market and role while specifying my duties. And a job with a university I grew up watching and cheering for? Somebody pinch me.
But I’m also leaving a place that put me in position to take this new job. I spent the last four years — two more than I anticipated — stretching myself, trying new things, growing, changing and building a resume that would get me to the next level.
The Sheridan Press, and specifically Woody and Czaban, gave me every opportunity to do that.
When I first moved out here, my friends half-jokingly asked, “Why Wyoming?” I can now lay out my past four years of work and say, “This is why.”
Kristen and Woody took a chance on some young know-it-all from Indiana, and it changed my life. Thank you.
I’m not really one for sappiness. But I do want to shout out certain people that I whole-heartedly believe played a role in me moving on to the next big thing.
The coaches, first and foremost. There are some dang good ones in this community, and creating relationships with them put me in position to succeed. Along with the coaches, the players. Good kids on and off the field, and not once did I interview or take photos of one pain in the butt student-athlete.
I’d thank the parents next, but some of ya’ll were just mean! Seriously, though, the community embraced me. I’m extremely proud to say The Sheridan Press and its sports coverage has improved since I’ve been here. Sure, I’m bragging on myself a bit, but it’s also because you guys allowed me to do that and appreciated it. That makes work fun.
To the fans of my weekly columns, you’re the best. I wrote most of those for myself, filled them with obscure WWE and hip-hop references, and you still laughed and shared kind words.
Finally, my family. My aunt, uncle and cousins — Lilli and Leah were the only people I hung out with when I first moved here — made my transition to life in the West far too easy. They provided more dinners than I can count, a few rounds of golf and the best doggy daycare in the United States. And to my parents and siblings for believing in me enough to not worry about me out here and to not get too upset when I didn’t respond to texts — I was busy working!
I covered three Broncs state titles in four seasons. I saw region and conference titles, Division I athletes and young up-and-comers. I concocted The Sheridan Press Sports Awards, my most-fun and greatest accomplishment here — that was until we added the Katie Malin French Be Fierce Award for Perseverance. Coolest thing I’ve ever been a part of.
There are too many achievements to name, stories on which to reminisce and people to thank. Maybe I’ll get to them all next week in my final column for The Press.
But I’ll probably just write about the WWE and hip-hop. Stick to what you know.