On Monday morning I will wake up, drink a cup of coffee, brush my teeth, and put on reasonably presentable clothes before I travel (as in, actually leave my house) for work. I have been named the sports producer at MassLive.com, my first full-time gig after working a zillion part-time jobs over the past couple of years.
It’s my first real job, and I have you guys to thank. Readers, Twitter followers, people who leave comments on almost every blog post — thank you. Without you all, I wouldn’t be in this position. I don’t have any journalism education. I never took a single writing class after high school. The one greatest attraction on my resume is Celtics Town, a website I began as a junior in college because a professor forced me to. I never once received an ‘A’ on a paper in college. Professors routinely told me I needed to improve my writing. They probably didn’t know I woke up at 5 a.m. to frantically type five pages of B.S. before their 8 a.m. class arrived. Or maybe they did. They must have been able to tell my work was more rushed than a jump shot begun with 0.3 seconds left on the clock.
I never expected Celtics Town to become such an important part of my life. I never envisioned waking up every morning, scanning Celtics news and offering my thoughts. Since the beginning of July, Celtics Town has had more than 140,000 unique visitors. That fact humbles me, and it confuses me, and it makes me wonder why in hell so many people read my thoughts.
But mostly, I’m thankful. One year ago, I had given up hopes of a sports journalism career entirely. I sent out dozens of resumes for marketing positions and sales gigs, and I thought I would soon have to quit writing, begin wearing a suit to work and start hating my life. I’m not saying those of you in marketing or sales should consider a sprint into oncoming traffic. But sports journalism is my passion, and I never wanted to stop pursuing it.
Just when I was ready to throw sports writing out the window, I found somebody at SB Nation (Mike Prada) who was dumb enough to hire me, and I wrote shorts news pieces there six days a week. I also did as much freelance work as I could. The Springfield Republican’s Russ Held and ESPN Boston’s Brendan Hall let me cover high school games. Brendan probably hated me because I often didn’t submit my pieces until 3 a.m., but I always tried to find the heart of the story. CLNS Radio’s Nick Gelso and Brandon Paul, and the Springfield Republican’s Vernon Hill, allowed me the opportunity to cover every home Boston Celtics game this postseason, at the TD Garden, in person. I have a Fathead of Paul Pierce in my room at home. Now I get to enter the Celtics’ locker room and ask the real Pierce questions. I don’t deserve these opportunities, but I know I’ve worked hard for them. And you guys made it all possible. I can’t stress that enough.
Before I continue, I want to state that Celtics Town will survive. I won’t be able to contribute as consistently, but I have assembled a stable of fantastic interns who will keep you up-to-date on the latest news. They’ll let you know when the Celtics are interested in Darko Milicic. They’ll alert you when E’Twaun Moore blows up during a Summer League game. They’ll handle most of the responsibilities, and I’ll pitch in when I can, and Celtics Town should remain one of your bookmarks, if you ever cared enough to bookmark it in the first place.
MassLive wants me to continue writing about the Celtics, I believe, so many of my thoughts might just be relocated to another website. If and when I write about the Celtics, I’ll let you know. Follow me on Twitter (@CelticsTown) and I’ll alert you whenever I write about the Cs, if you’re in the minority who care.
This is weird. I started Celtics Town as a school assignment. It became a full-time hobby, opened several doors and has now afforded me a great opportunity with the second-largest news website in the state of Massachusetts. I’m crying now. I think I know why. They’re tears of joy, tears of hard work resulting in something unexpected and awesome, tears which flow more quickly because my role with Celtics Town won’t, can’t, remain the same. I’ll actually have full-time responsibilities now. I’ll have a full-time boss. I’ll write when I can, but I won’t be able to do so as often as I always have. This isn’t goodbye, but it’s a change. A significant one. The change is in my best interests, but parts of it will sting more than a shower does after scraping a knee in a biking accident.
Beginning Monday, my work days will include a real desk, co-workers and a boss. I’ll miss Celtics Town, a lot, but this doesn’t mean I’m going into hiding forever. I won’t be the go-to guy here anymore, but I’ll morph into a role player and the interns will shine in their duties as stars.
This isn’t goodbye, but it won’t be the same.
Thank you all.