To answer a frequent question I hear lately, yes, it’s back to partial retirement. I’m on duty at about a quarter-time basis as a feature writer and sports assistant.
Officially, as of 1:21 a.m. on Nov. 3, I spent my last late night on the sports desk since this “temporary” move from semi-retirement was required because of staff shortages in early June.
Since then, it’s been pretty much six nights a week. Usually Saturdays were pretty slow, but Friday night games and Sunday night writing kind of piles up the hours. Of course, Monday through Thursday nights were all pretty late into the night in getting the next day’s sports section ready.
It was even worse for sports editor Kaleb Carter because during all of this, he had to not only adjust to being sports editor for Osceola, but then with the purchase of the papers in Adair County, the workload really spiked. Fortunately, Caleb Nelson came along to fill that editor’s role in Greenfield and has good experience to help in putting those sports sections together.
I thought the gig was going to be over when I returned from our August vacation out west, but then another opening came up on our news staff, so Carter Eckl’s move to sports to join Kaleb was delayed again.
So, I completed most of the summer sports season and all of the fall sports season as the full-time partner of Kaleb’s, which I enjoyed. He had an old guy alongside who’s seen about everything that could occur while becoming a sports editor here. Hopefully some of that corroboration helped.
Kaleb is diligent about wanting to run a solid sports section in all of our properties. There’s been a lot of growth in those five months. As a bonus, Kaleb likes to play ‘70s music a lot in the background as we finished pages, so we didn’t have issues there!
It was fun to jump back into the fray again, but it’s a young person’s game. I grew tired of being tired. Getting to sleep at 3 or even 4 a.m. some nights was hard to get used to again after a year of not going into the office every night from June 2016 to June 2017. I had to learn the wacky hours again, and all the work that goes into a Sunday night from the weekend coverage. For 12 months I had gotten used to leisurely Sunday evenings.
That’s probably the best part of going back into semi-retirement. Having some time to watch TV or a movie with Deb, or talk to the kids, with no pressure to get started on work. Having spent more than 35 years of working hard on Sunday nights, I’m ready to experience those evenings duty-free with Deb.
I’m looking forward to doing a lower number of stories that I want to do, instead of the nightly grind of numerous stories that have to get done. My niche might be to get out again and follow the collegiate athletes who excelled in high school around here, and follow their progress at the next level. I have several trips in mind already, and got started last week watching Jay Wolfe of Creston and Jackson Lamb of Nodaway Valley play for Briar Cliff against Graceland.
Feel free to contact me with any interesting feature story ideas. We have a good, young energetic news staff. I hope to support their efforts with some occasional in-depth work. Sometimes it is difficult for a busy news writer on specific beats to donate that amount of time to one project. For once in my life, I have the time!
By now, most local sports fans know Kaleb Carter. If you haven’t met Carter Eckl, make him feel welcome as he shifts over to sports on a full-time basis.
I remember those days of being a young sportswriter in Creston, back in the ‘80s. My advice to both Kaleb and Carter is to have fun with it. Before you know it, you’ll be the old guy looking back on “the good old days.”
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