When I first came to The Pampa News as a sports reporter in 2013, I had every intention of using the newspaper as a stepping stone to eventually climb the endless rungs of the sports reporting industry culminating with covering my beloved Denver Broncos on a full-time basis.
My Ray Romano-esque dreams were eventually put on hold when I took over for my editor, Tim Howsare, several months later. The timing was perfect. My wife was pregnant with my first child, Peyton, and stability is a necessary component for a young family.
For nine years, that stability continued for The Pampa News in a world where print media, and not just newspapers, is cursed with constant turnover and a uncertain future. That is why it is more important than ever to support your local newspapers. They are the only ones with the interest of you, the readers and taxpayers, in mind. FOX News, Associated Press and USA Today does not care about the issues facing Pampa and Gray County. But, I digress.
After almost a decade of reporting on countless City/County Commission meetings, elections, emergency service changes, tornadoes/snowstorms, retirements and new faces, I had an opportunity presented to me to teach. It was an opportunity I could not turn down.
I have often said that should I leave The Pampa News, I’ll be leaving the newspaper world for good. I plan to stick to those words.
But, this life change is not met without a mixed bag of emotions.
For one I’m sad because I will be leaving a group of people who treated me as another son/brother. My publisher, but even more my friend, ReDonn Woods, gave me the ultimate freedom to be an even better father and husband to my family at home. The conversations I shared with her along with Carrie Hair (bookkeeper) and Steven White (pressman) were about far more than just what ads and stories are going in the paper. For that, I’m eternally grateful.
I am also grateful for all of those who have worked along side me through the years including Zachary Green, Patrick Allen, Beverly Taylor, Callie Odell, Crystal Arreola, Angie Buckley and Marcus Elkins. Each one of them contributed to the success I had here at The Pampa News.
I’m also nervous and anxious. As I noted, when I started at The Pampa News I was a young man with a wife at home living in a tiny house with three dogs. I grew up here and it has been the only life I’ve known as a truly “grown man.” Since then I’ve become grown as a father, a husband and, probably most important, a Christian in my church in Amarillo.
But lastly, I’m excited. Teaching can be one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have. I know because teachers at Tascosa High School like Gary Giles, Monte Wells and David Smirl all had an impact as me and inspired me to go into teaching at Amarillo College where I earned my Associate’s Degree in Secondary Education. I ultimately moved to sports journalism with a “minor” in History, but I was still impacted by instructors like Dr. Butler Cain and Dr. Paul Clark.
While the 1973 Bob Seger song, “Turn the Page,” talks about a musician on a seemingly endless road of emotional/physical stress and fatigue; I believe once you turn enough pages you arrive at a new chapter in the story of life.
In closing, the great poet from Tulsa, Okla. Garth Brooks once said, “And there’s bound to be rough waters; And I know I’ll take some falls; But with the good Lord as my captain; I can make it through them all.”
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