Column: Absence allows for reflection
Published 11:27 am Wednesday, December 29, 2004
I don't know if anyone has missed me, but I have had some recent health issues that have forced me away from work since Dec. 17.
No to go into much detail, but I have had to take a short leave of absence to address some much-needed surgery.
It's funny how one can look differently at his job when he is forced to step away from it. I enjoy my work.
That is something a lot of people cannot say. But working for Leader Publications is enjoyable because I get a chance to deal with young people on a daily basis.
Being a sports writer may not seem like work to those who do not do it, but there is a lot of thought that goes behind writing a story or laying out a page.
Being forced to step away these last two weeks has allowed me to think a lot about what it is I do on a daily basis and a chance to think about how I can make things better when I return.
Working at a small town newspaper I am sure is nothing like working at a metropolitan newspaper.
I am not sure I would enjoy working at a "big" paper because I would not get a chance to know the coaches and athletes the way I get to know those I cover now.
There are a lot of interesting players, coaches and fans in southwest Michigan, and I get a chance to meet and cover those individuals on a daily basis.
An added bonus to working at the newspaper is of course the occasional chance to cover a national story by going to Notre Dame or to Michigan State or to cover NASCAR when it makes its two yearly stops in the state.
But those moments cannot overshadow the fun and excitement of covering the local high school teams as they try to win divisional, conference or state championships.
I have only had the pleasure of covering one state title run. But that has not meant that following the girls tennis team to Grand Rapids was any less exciting this past year.
It was great watching the boys and girls soccer teams win their first district championships ever.
I hope that the remainder of this school year produces many more memorable moments for me and for the schools I cover for Leader Publications.
I have had plenty of time to sit here and think about things these past two weeks and I am ready to hit the ground running next week when I return to full-time work.
I hope to watch these young athletes give it their all in competition and that it pays off.
The great thing about covering high school sports is that success does not have to be measured in wins and losses and it shouldn't be.
Success can come in a variety of forms. I encourage each and every one of you to get out and support these athletes as they strive to succeed.
See you at the games.