In the spirit of the holiday week, a "thank you" to readers.
I have had this column space for four Novembers now, and each time I have resisted using it for a Thanksgiving "giving thanks" piece.
I'm strong, I know.
This is the year I cannot hold out any longer. I am feeling especially thankful this year, for many reasons, but mostly because I have great and talented coworkers and I feel constantly inspired at work. Some people don't get to say that, so I wanted to do some giving back.
Thank you to my editor(s) for letting me cover the Baltimore Orioles every spring training. Spending a day or three at Ed Smith Stadium is a thrill that never wanes for this Marylander. Baseball was my first love. I don't engage with the game as much as I would like to anymore, but getting to work in that setting is a nice nostalgia hit.
Thank you to the Sarasota sports community at large for letting me into your lives. I am merely a vessel for you to tell your stories, no matter what those stories are. Nearly everyone I have interacted with has been kind and helped me when I needed it. No one has to do this, by the way. That is something I and a lot of other journalists forget. Sources have every right to keep us on the fringes, but letting us in creates a more satisfying tapestry.
Counting the number of team losses in state semifinals and finals I have witnessed since moving here would require two hands, so thank you to the Cardinal Mooney volleyball team for winning a state title and helping me convince myself I am not some type of ancient curse or bad luck charm. I asked for this moment in my open letter to 2019 in January, but I had no idea if a local team could pull it off. Next year, I am rooting for all area programs in their endeavors to match Mooney volleyball's feat.
Perhaps most of all, I want to say thank you to the people reading these words. I am blessed to work in an area where people still care about local sports coverage, still read every feature and look at every photo gallery. There is nothing more deflating than creating what you think is an interesting and enlightening profile and then seeing it go unread, so thank you for keeping me afloat. The sports journalism landscape is changing faster than anyone realizes, and I am thankful for the opportunity to do what I love and still have an impact. I also write some dumb jokes that only I think are funny, and I am thankful for those who don't throw the paper in the garbage when I do.
It is my goal to make this section as enthralling as possible, so if there are things you would like to see covered — or things you want covered less, I suppose — let me know. If I am not serving my readers' needs, I'm not doing my job well. My contact information is in the author box on this page. I cannot guarantee that your suggestions will lead to action, but they might!
Together, let's make the future as fun as the last few years have been.