Let me Explain: I’m Not Leaving
Friday night I filed this gem on deadline then sent the link out via all my social networks, explaining to all my friends and both my fans that this story about Serena Williams would be my last by-line as a member of the Toronto Star’s sports department.
For the next 36 hours messages trickled in on Twitter, congratulating me on leaving the Star or lamenting that the World’s Greatest Sportswriter had hung up his pen.
I appreciate the love and it’s always gratifying to know that you’ll be missed but let me make clear that I’m still sportswriter and still at the Star.
I’m just not writing sports at the Star anymore.
This morning I start the next phase of my tenure at Canada’s largest newspaper — when I arrive at the office I’ll head straight to my new gig as a reporter in the business department.
Was it my choice?
Not at all.
I’ve built a career and a brand on my ability to use sports as a setting to tell stories about fascinating human beings.
This story looks like it’s about baseball, but it’s really about brotherhood, estrangement, longing and politics.
This one is set in a boxing ring, but it’s about fatherhood, facing fears and unrequited love.
And this one is about the steep price athletes pay not just for their dreams but for our entertainment.
I love this work and wouldn’t choose to leave it without a compelling reason.
But as any pro athlete knows, you don’t always get to choose where you work. If your team trades you, you accept it, you report to the team that needs you and you do your best.
Besides, I’m not the only person at the Star or in this industry adjusting to a new role. As my good friend and podcast partner Will “Wall $t” Strickland keeps reminding me, the only constant in this world is change, and if I wasn’t adept at adapting I wouldn’t have survived in this business as long as I have.
Remember, before I covered baseball I covered soccer. And before I covered soccer I covered cops and courts. And before I covered cops and courts I was an agate editor who won a National Newspaper Award in his spare time.
My career is a testament to triumph over change.
At the same time I love sportswriting too much and have built too much of a following doing it to give it up just because my official job title has changed. So if you enjoy the way tell stories about sports you can always find me right here.
And if you’re not already listening to the All Balls Don’t Bounce Podcast, here’s your excuse and your opportunity.
And if you’re concerned about my career, quit your worrying.
Change is constant and so is this: I like telling stories.
I love it, in fact.
As long as love doing it and can do it well there will always be a spot of me in this industry, and right now that place is in the business department at the Toronto Star.