Trying to fill big shoes

I moved to Johnson County last November, shortly after I accepted a job as the sports editor at The Republic in Columbus.

At that time, I was expecting to be in Columbus for a long time. Surprisingly, I’m happy to have been wrong.

After just a little more than eight months on that job, I’m going to be working much closer to home, taking the reins as the new sports editor at the Daily Journal.

During my brief time in Columbus, I had the opportunity to get to know Rick Morwick, the man I’ll be attempting to replace here. Based on what I know and what I’ve heard, I’ll have some pretty big shoes to fill.

I don’t expect to be able to fill them right away.

Rick was with the Daily Journal for 25 years, and I’m not even sure I know 25 people in Johnson County yet. So there undoubtedly will be a learning curve.

Taking on new challenges, though, isn’t exactly new for me — and while I may not have been in these parts long, I’m no stranger to Indiana sports.

I graduated from Notre Dame in 1996, and after a few years back in my native Massachusetts, I returned to the Midwest and worked on the sports staff at The Times of Northwest Indiana.

I spent five-plus years covering my alma mater for Blue & Gold Illustrated before moving to West Lafayette, where I worked on the sports desk at the Journal & Courier.

From there, Columbus. And now, just a few months later, here I am. All yours.

In case you were wondering, yes — the fact that I grew up in Massachusetts does mean that I’m a Patriots fan. And yes, I do enjoy trolling bitter, downtrodden Colts fans. It’s part of the fun.

But that’s all it is — fun. I’m generally not a malicious person. Neither sports nor life in general are meant to be taken too seriously, so I don’t.

That’s why I got into sports journalism in the first place — because sports are fun. And while many folks in my position are fixated upon covering the “big-time” events and such, I’m kind of over all of that. During my two decades in this game, I’ve gotten more enjoyment out of covering high school sports than anything else.

That’s where the better stories are — where the athletes are still (mostly) untainted by the dark side of sports, and quotes aren’t going through the filters and/or muzzles created by coaches and sports information directors. It’s more real. Almost all of the best stories I’ve ever written have been related to high school sports. That’s not a coincidence.

So anyway, that’s the short version of what you’ll be getting in me. I enjoy long state tournament runs more than I enjoy long walks on the beach (which is good, since there’s no such thing as a beach in the Midwest anyway). I strongly prefer gymnasiums and fields to cubicles. And my family and I are beyond glad to be here.

So feel free to come introduce yourself if you see me around and about. I’m looking forward to getting to know you.