Sports activities Editor Matt Tait’s farewell column - thqaftqlm

Sports activities Editor Matt Tait’s farewell column

Eighteen years in the past, when former Journal-World Sports activities Editor Tom Keegan confirmed as much as work for his first day on the job in Lawrence, I fired off an e mail that may change the following twenty years of my life.

In it, I defined to Keegan who I used to be, why I used to be emailing him and the way, for so long as I might keep in mind, I all the time had aspired to jot down for the Journal-World and canopy sports activities within the city by which I grew up.

It was a sappy e mail, stuffed with hopes and goals and over-the-top pleasantries, and, after he employed me, Keegan sometimes preferred to tug out the e-mail and browse it to me for an excellent snort.

It all the time delivered, and I by no means actually might inform which one among us laughed more durable. In all probability him, although.

Of the 2 of us, the letter positively was extra of a humiliation to me. But it surely’s additionally one thing I’m glad I wrote, as a result of, as I sit right here and write my final story for the Journal-World, that e mail serves as an exquisite reminder of every thing my time with the paper supplied me, personally, professionally and as a child who grew up with a dream.

In brief, I used to be fortunate sufficient to do every thing I instructed Tom I wished to do in that e mail and a lot extra.

There are far too many individuals to thank individually, so I received’t do this right here. However my honest hope is that every one of you, from athletes and directors to coaches and fogeys to scoreboard operators and upkeep employees, co-workers and so many extra, know the way a lot I appreciated and loved my time with you, nonetheless brief or lengthy it might have been.

I lined numerous video games at the highschool I attended, usually interviewing a number of the similar coaches who have been lecturers at Lawrence Excessive again within the Nineteen Nineties once I was a scholar there. What a thrill.

I wasn’t part of the LHS-Free State rivalry as a scholar, however I got here to utterly find it irresistible as somebody who lined it for a dwelling. Lawrence is among the best sports activities cities I’ve seen, and the feud between the Firebirds and Lions on recreation evening, together with the crosstown friendships that exist earlier than and after the battles, is really particular.

Throughout my 17 years on the paper and 22 with the corporate, I did nearly every thing one might think about, from laying out pages and coordinating protection to taking images, writing blogs, tales, columns and briefs, touring the world and interviewing a number of the largest names in KU sports activities historical past.

All of it helped me develop as a person and a journalist, and I’ll perpetually be appreciative of the alternatives I acquired right here, rising in my job and in my life with out ever having to depart dwelling.

I got here throughout numerous athletes who I’ll all the time keep in mind fondly and I befriended plenty of their dad and mom, as effectively. That was each at the highschool stage and whereas overlaying KU. See, for me, the connection facet of the job has all the time been crucial half.

If you will get individuals to belief you, they’ll confide in you and let you know their tales. It’s then your job to show these tales into one thing value studying, and it was an absolute honor to do this for thus lengthy in such an exquisite place.

I don’t know the precise quantity, however after a fast depend I’m fairly positive I labored with greater than 200 coaches throughout my time with the paper. And, no, they weren’t all KU soccer coaches.

These coaches mentored tons of of athletes, and I had a number of the finest experiences of my life whereas representing the Journal-World.

5 NBA drafts. 4 Closing Fours. Dozens and dozens of KU basketball victories. A handful of state titles and faculty information. Numerous street journeys with entertaining colleagues. And various memorable meals, tales and front-row seats for unimaginable video games in New York, Chicago, L.A., Maui, Rome, Milan, Las Vegas, Miami and extra.

To sum up all of them would take perpetually, so I’ll belief that these of you who have been part of any of them, nonetheless huge or small, noticed clearly how a lot delight I had in being the sports activities man on the native paper.

For many individuals, a job is a job and it offers you the means to dwell your life. I used to be one of many fortunate ones who spent the previous two-plus a long time doing what I like to do for a dwelling. My job was my life, and whereas that wasn’t all the time the perfect factor for me and my sanity, it positive appeared prefer it on most days.

It’s not simple to say goodbye. I actually thought I’d write right here till I retired. And I do know I’ll proceed to be one of many paper’s largest supporters due to its significance to our group. I hope you’ll be a part of me in that endeavor.

However I’m additionally thrilled to move off to sort out the brand new problem of overlaying athletes within the title, picture and likeness world for Perpetual Sports activities Community and the Mass Avenue Collective. And I’m grateful that my new gig will give me the chance to remain in Lawrence and proceed to jot down, albeit in a barely completely different approach than I did for the Journal-World.

Packing up my desk this week was a surreal expertise. I discovered issues I didn’t keep in mind I had, tossed out issues I by no means wanted and had a number of fantastic reminiscences come speeding again from each drawer and pile I went by means of.

The boards above my desk have been lined with credentials and images and different reminiscences from my life as a sportswriter. I all the time thought it regarded cool and it all the time made me smile. It additionally made me appear like an adolescent with an over-decorated locker. Oh effectively.

With every thing boxed up, I got here throughout 4 Chinese language meals fortunes that I had taped up above my desk. I don’t actually keep in mind why I put them up, however one among them caught my eye. It learn: “You may have clearly liked each minute of your job.”

I hope it was clear. I do know it was true.

Thanks for studying.

Editor’s Observe: The Journal-World and could have a brand new sports activities editor becoming a member of the employees within the latter half of Could. Search for extra info at the moment.


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Author Photo

Written By Matt Tait

A local of Colorado, Matt moved to Lawrence in 1988 and has been on the town ever since. He graduated from Lawrence Excessive in 1996 and the College of Kansas in 2000 with a level in Journalism. After overlaying KU sports activities for the College Every day Kansan and, Matt joined the World Firm (and later Ogden Publications) in 2001 and has held a number of positions with the paper and prior to now 20+ years. He grew to become the Journal-World Sports activities Editor in 2018. All through his profession, Matt has received a number of native and nationwide awards from each the Related Press Sports activities Editors and the Kansas Press Affiliation. In 2021, he was named the Kansas Sportswriter of the 12 months by the Nationwide Sports activities Media Affiliation. Matt lives in Lawrence together with his spouse, Allison, and two daughters, Kate and Molly. When he isn’t overlaying KU sports activities, he likes to spend his time taking part in basketball and golf, listening to and writing music and touring the world with family and friends.

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