It began 48 years ago in Carthage, Mo. It ends here today
Adiós, adieu, happy trails, goodbye.
There. It didn’t hurt a bit.
And while we’re at it, auf wiedersehen and arrivederci. I would say the same to my friend Pete Tountas in Greek, except the free translation function on my computer would explode.
This is my final day at the Citizen. I’m retiring as a day-to-day sportswriter. Today my records tally. Hopefully, my box score balances.
It’s been a great adventure, the past 32 years at the Citizen, 30 of them in the toy department. I am grateful to those who hired me and to those who let me hang around.
I am thankful to those who read my stuff.
But more than anyone else, I am indebted to the most wonderful person of all, my favorite figure in sports or any other category:
Marge, my wife.
My career began in a log cabin. . . . Well, not really. It began 48 years and 10 months ago in an old brick building in the beautiful little town of Carthage, Mo. I accepted the offer of E.L. Dale to take a sabbatical from college and become the sports editor of the Carthage Evening Press.
I would soon learn that I was also the fire department, police, highway patrol and building-permit editor.
My ambition was to make a little money and return to college. I did the former – I made very little money – but never got back to college.
I quickly fell head over heels in love with this business.
And to borrow from an old fishing buddy of mine, Herman Melville, who said of his whaling ship: “This is my Yale College, this is my Harvard . . .”
The newspaper craft is my alma mater.
From Jurassic-looking iron monsters spitting out lead and lines of type, through flat-bed and tubular presses. From clanky but dependable typewriters loaded with paper and carbon copies, to disdainful and temperamental computers.
From multiple editions and deadlines a day to the 24-hour online computer-news operation that never sleeps.
I’ve pretty much seen it all.
My contribution has been sports writing. The part most fun to write about is the human heart.
And with all due respect to the Internet-iPod-blogger generation, permit me to share the One Great Truth as I see it: Ink on newsprint is better than pixels on screens.
Try it some time.
I’ve borrowed already from Melville, so permit me to use the words of a couple of poets to put this departure in perspective.
First, my favorite, by Stephen Vincent Benét:
“Things will happen, news will break and time will pass away.”
And finally, from George Meredith:
“The old hound wags his shaggy tail,
“And I knew what he would say:
“It’s over the hills we’ll be bound, old hound,
“Over the hills and away.”
Thanks for everything. So long.
Corky fans, you won’t have to suffer cold-turkey withdrawal. He has agreed to write a weekly column that will run in the Tucson Citizen on Saturdays. Look for it, starting Jan. 6.