Wednesday, March 28, 2018

On To The Next Window.....

The old saying goes that when God closes a door, He opens a window.

I'm currently checking for open windows around or near me, or, maybe you know of one I haven't seen yet.  :)

Late Tuesday night, after coming home from a wonderful premarital counseling session, I received the news I've been expecting for, frankly, close to two years.

The Herald-Progress, the community newspaper of Hanover County since 1881, and the home of my sportswriting since 2011, is no more. The parent company, Lakeway Publishers, is pulling the plug on it, along with The Caroline Progress. Two weekly newspapers with a combined 236 years of service are gone in an instant.

Such is life in the very fragile world of print journalism. That era of reporting and relating such reporting is dying. Realists like me know this, and this is why the news, while sudden last night, was in no way surprising. Advertising was always fighting an uphill battle, and, our primary competition produced a newspaper they were willing to give away in order to dwarf our circulation numbers, then start another free weekly to blanket the rest of the county. Add Google and Facebook sucking up digital dollars to the expense of many, thus, print and other legacy money shifting to digital, and you get the idea.

I have several people to thank, beginning with Greg Glassner, who asked me to write weekly on the football games I broadcast back in the 2011 season, which became a regular gig when football ended, which later prompted an idea about starting a Twitter, which, in turn, has completely changed my life.

My ability to help the RVA Sports Network grow has been thanks to the (meager) existence I earned while at the H-P. That's not a cut against them. If I didn't like it at any time, I could have left. But, especially after my 2013 heart attack, I've gained a sense of purpose and responsibility to chronicle the achievements of an army of student-athletes who will never get on "SportsCenter", but whose stories deserved to be known.

Thus, as I pivot to my next chapter, I plan to continue to do this for as long as possible. It could be six months or twenty-six years. We'll see how that goes.

My second thank you has to go to former editor Bec Metcalf, whose idea to "sponsor" the sports section saved my job, honestly, two years ago. Thus, big thanks to my dear friend Judy Gerber for getting Massey, Wood, and West to be our sponsor from July, 2016 to the very end. I so enjoyed working with Greg, Bec, Judy, Lee, Emily, Natalie, Julia, Janice, and everyone else. Last, but not least by far, thanks be to God for my long-time reunion with high school teacher, and friend, Nick Liberante, as we spent five years together, me Robin to his Caped Crusader. :

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Now, I look forward. I'll take a few days to digest things. Certainly, I'm open to anyone who may want a middle-aged sportswriter and broadcaster who probably knows more about high school sports in Richmond than anyone else (and I say that with the greatest of humility, and with no chip on my shoulder). It's been my beat for years now, 24/7/365, football to field hockey and everything in between.

RVA Sports Network will continue, in fact, we're working on some things behind the scenes which I cannot discuss right now that will, hopefully, have us emerge stronger than ever this year and much, much closer to the original goal of this endeavor. The Game of The Week broadcast continues, as does our podcast, and we'll get to as many games as possible as usual.

Where we go and how much will depend on how is next for me when it comes to making sure my wife and I can do things like eat and buy medicine. :)

To all the AD's, coaches, parents, trainers, and especially student-athletes who have helped me in my time at the Herald-Progress, a big THANK YOU.

My flame burns bright and I look to the future now, excited as God unfolds the next chapter. I'm almost 51, and he hasn't dropped me yet. I don't expect Him to start now.

Onward and Forward!  :)

Rob 

(Doing my thing, Atlee High School, November 1, 2017. Thanks Joel Klein!)

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