To quote one of my favorite movie villains of all-time, “Let's not stand on ceremony here.” After more than two years, today is my last day with Eleven Warriors.
As a kid, my father used to tell me that change is constant, and the only thing constant is change. His father talked often about having your priorities straight in life, one of my lasting memories of him before cancer stole him away when I was 12. My mom's late dad further instilled in me the value of hard work. They are three of the best men I will ever know and I would be lying if I thought those three things would intersect before I hit the age of 30. But here we are, and I often think about them when I make key life decisions like this one.
I am leaving the sports writing industry. Don't get me wrong, what I've done the last five years first at The Lantern, then the-Ozone and finally here (with a little time at Associated Press sprinkled in) was a dream job. When Mom asked me what I wanted to do with a journalism degree, I told her "cover Ohio State, be read by thousands and be on TV." That happened. Now, it is time for a new challenge as a move into the next phase.
As many of you know, I married the love of my life four weeks ago. We bought a house. In addition to those things, Eleven Warriors was a huge part of what made my life great.
Friends, family and other acquaintances always knew to ask me about the Buckeyes because of the informed answers that followed. I pray that continues because it remains a huge part of who I am and what I love to do. It still stuns me that people care what I write or think about things regarding Ohio State football, be it either here or on social media. I have this website and the others I wrote for to thank for that.
I can't put into words what working here has done for my professional career and I've lost track of people I need to single out and thank. I'll start with Jason, who gave me an opportunity to serve as the site's lead football beat writer, being on the ground in countless cities and stadiums covering one of the top college football programs in the country. You put me on television, something I always wanted to ever since I interned for Beau Bishop, David Wilkinson, Tim Flaherty, Rob Kunz and Dom Tiberi at 10TV. Not everyone gets that opportunity, especially as a 23-year-old barely removed from college, so thank you. You've built a monster and fed it properly; I am ecstatic to know I contributed a small bit to that feast.
I've been fortunate to grow closer to DJ, Tim, Kevin and in the last year, Andrew, while working my tail off to cover Ohio State. When you're truly, truly in the weeds with people, be it driving back from State College on four hours of sleep or rolling west to Indianapolis to cover the Big Ten women's basketball tournament at the same time as the NFL Combine, the stories and memories you share together are as ridiculous as they are extensive. Thanks to you all for being there for me. I hope you can say I have been there for you as well. A special shout out to Tim, who taught me about the greatness of Youngstown, was my first contact if a story idea needed molding or an edit on anything and share too many of the same interests I have to list. We did some awesome work together and I consider you a great friend, so thank you.
Those four in addition to Jeremy Birmingham and the other talented contributors to the site (both current and past) are among the best at what they do and how they do it. That is why this #content ship will continue to churn on without me and I am certain will be better than ever. My replacement is more than capable than I am to do this job, though it is not appropriate for me to steal Jason's thunder and let you know who will be taking over my spot. That individual is a friend, colleague, tireless worker and brilliant journalist. The site won't miss a beat and I am confident you'll like his work more than you did mine. All I ask is you are as kind to him in the comments as you were to me, even when I made countless stupid mistakes that you #wellactually'd me for and caused me lose sleep.
My work in sports writing included covering a national championship season, the quarterback competition of the century, Ohio State's record 2016 NFL Draft haul, countless great players, people and pretty much anything else you could think of. None of it would be possible without the faithful readers, so to you all, I humbly thank you. My stories on Pat Elflein and his family, stadium ejections (holla at me, Iowa City), Frank, The Game of the Century and much, much more are why I got into sports writing.
This post is already too long, so I'll wrap it up with this: I hope everyone who reads it continues to support Eleven Warriors and any other media company you like to consume. Recent changes to the sports media landscape are terrifying and those who do it right deserve your attention financially and everywhere else it is possible. Guys like Kyle Jones, who teaches me something about the intricacies of football every time I read his work, or Ramzy Nasrallah, an extremely eloquent writer and fountain of information, do not grow on trees. Keep them around by doing what you do — read this site and tell others about it.
Thank you to both of them, as well as Johnny Ginter, Chris Lauderback, Vico, Walt Keys, Andrew Ellis, Grant Edgell and Beau. To those I have forgotten, I apologize and thank you. You have all helped me do something great along the way and I realize how fortunate I am to have gotten to know/work with you.
I will share what is next for me soon on Twitter, where I hope you will still follow me but understand completely if you don't. Most of you follow for Ohio State news from press conferences and practices, which I will no longer provide. I will still watch and read everything and be active on social media, just not in the same capacity as the last 28 months. My hope is to stick around the 11W community and maybe do a freelance story here or there. We will see — as they say, time will tell.