My last day at The Norman Transcript was nothing like the first.
When I arrived, Clay Horning was my editor and he had me busy. I was at a high school soccer practice putting together notes and a story. My writing schedule was jam-packed because of the spring sports calendar.
When I left, sports were mostly at a standstill due to the pandemic. I wasn’t packing my things into my new desk, I was cleaning out my old office and turning in my laptop.
I have made a personal decision to leave the newspaper and embark on a new journey in Nashville. It’s a bittersweet but necessary move for me, and I drove away Friday with the obvious feelings that come with such a decision.
Thus ended my little trip around the state.
It seems like ages ago that I asked the Tulsa World’s Kelly Hines if she could get me some opportunities covering high school games. She did. My first assignment was Bartlesville at Sand Springs. I could barely scrape together 300 words, including a short quote.
I’ve learned so much and grown into a better man during the eight years since then. It started with one year in Elk City, then four more in Lawton before The Transcript called.
There are too many personal memories to list during my three years covering Oklahoma football and two years working as The Transcript sports editor. I won’t bother listing them, because my inventory of experiences at ballgames is not as important as the end of this column.
Thank you to all.
The paper gave me a beautiful opportunity. I learned so much and met many wonderful people. Readers, athletes, co-workers and colleagues have all made this a very special stop.
When I was still working in Lawton I got a call from Berry Tramel, who had tracked down my number with the sole intent of asking how he could help me. I took him up on it. While covering the Sooners I competed against people who were more experienced, but they were still willing to lend a hand.
How’d I get so lucky?
More than any piece of my portfolio I built, or any exciting moment I lived, the kindness I received and the character I acquired will serve as my favorite memories here.
Norman is a wonderful city with a proud and well-functioning university. Both of them contain beautiful, compelling stories that deserve to be told with passion.
But please remember neither are perfect. Norman and OU are better because they are held in check by journalists.
This column is short and sweet. It won’t take up much space on a six-column page. Consider its conclusion and take action if you value what your local newspaper does.
Read The Transcript. Write letters to the editor. Tip off its reporters. Critique it and compliment it.
Advertise in it, contribute to it, help make it better.
Because that’s what it does for Norman.