#BuckFiftyADay Since March, 2014

#BuckFiftyADay Since March, 2014

Monday, November 25, 2013

Not Beyond My 50 Years, But Wise Nonetheless

My best work.

So many ways to think about it. Fifty is, of course, half a century. Fifty is 25 times two. Fifty is the age my parents were when they dropped me off at college, and they seemed pretty "wise."

It's a bit scary, but it is what it is, as they say.

In some ways I still feel like a kid, especially when I spend time with old friends, as I did this past weekend after the Manasquan Turkey Trot. We laugh at dumb jokes, pull stupid pranks, turn back the clock.

But when I step back and think about having a 15 and a 17-year old son, who have relied on me and Linda to raise them, support them, mentor them, suddenly, I feel like maybe I'm "wise," too.

To say time flies does not do justice to just how fast the years go by. Wasn't it just yesterday that I was riding a school bus to a baseball or soccer game with my high school buddies? Is it too late for me to tell the baseball coach at North Carolina I want to give it one more year? No, I'm not going to law school because there's a job offer from Sports Illustrated and I'm gonna give that a year or two. Did I really cover the Yankees for the New York Daily News? Was I really part of the editorial group that launched ESPN The Magazine? No way I spent more than a dozen years writing features for The Mag, right? Did that guy really just tell me, "You're a good dude, but" before telling me he was putting me on the unemployment line? Was it really two years of working as a baseball columnist at the Star-Ledger? I don't remember much.
My partner in everything.

Scary, right?

And it's good.

It is especially good because, all these experiences, good and bad, I share with Linda, Tyler and Beau. I don't mean this to disparage any of the workaholics out there in my business, who accept the long road trips, embrace the absolute need to be plugged-in to every single bit of information that's streaming through the internet. But it's not for me.
Here's to good friends.

All it took was a few weeks into last baseball off-season for me to realize it's not for me anymore. I'd taken one for the team at the Star-Ledger (or so I thought), moving on to the Yankee beat when our young and talented beat writer moved on to greener pastures. I'd plowed my way through August and September. Through the American League Division Series and the AL Championship Series. I finished what I'd set out to do for the Ledger, or so I thought. Until a couple of days went by and the texts and emails started hitting me. Did you see what the Post wrote about CC Sabathia? Why didn't you write about Jeter's appearance at a toy store in Manhattan? There's a lot of stuff on Twitter about A-Rod... One day, as I tried to sit down to watch Beau play soccer, my phone went off and I was told to write...not later, but now. One night when I tried to take Linda out for dinner, I was told to write...not later, but now.

Soon to be joining the Half-Century Club.
It occurred to me. I thought I was a hard worker. But I was a slacker compared to everyone else. It also occurred to me. I wasn't happy. Not even a little bit. Working for a newspaper -- something I had not done in 15 years when I took the job at the Ledger -- was not for me. Not at the age of 49.

So, when I got my package from the Ledger last January 15, as much as it sent my family into a mild state of panic, deep inside, I knew it would end up being the best thing for all those who are close to me.

I move into the next half-century a happier, more fulfilled guy. Less secure professionally than I was at 40, but we will figure out how to make this all work. Me, Linda, Tyler and Beau.

No one can stop us.

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