Before getting the news on New Year’s Eve that I was getting laid off, I was slightly expecting that I would be celebrating my retirement from our Ford County Record office, with some celebratory cake being cut for me, Record Editor Will Brumleve and members of the company, my family and members of the Ford County community.
Maybe, if he’s still alive and kicking at this hypothetical point, Tom Meents drives his Maximum Destruction truck off a steep piece of wood and over the cake, blowing out the candles in the process.
But alas, it apparently wasn’t meant to be.
For more than seven years, I have worked tirelessly as some of the most memorable experiences of my life have occurred.
I saw GCMS High School’s football team win back-to-back state titles. My lifelong dream has always been to go to the Super Bowl, and that still remains on top of my bucket list, but if I don’t manage to cross it off the list, I can at least say I’ve witnessed not only a championship football game in my life, but had good seats to it — and to the afterparties.
I can also say that I’ve been to the Final Four — if only because GCMS’s boys’ basketball team went to the state tournament last year.
I’ve seen PBL High School’s football team go from a team that did not quite reach the playoffs to a perennial second-round qualifier, and even get to the quarterfinals this past year. That was certainly a fun journey, as well.
There are some moments that I did not see coming, most notably PBL’s boys’ basketball team upsetting Warrensburg-Latham in the Class 2A sectional semifinals in 2016.
I, of course, predicted the Panthers to lose that game, and I kept my ritualistic promise to shave my beard after the game.
There are many other moments, but there are too many to remember.
Maybe I was too engrossed in the work I was doing to fully embrace all these moments in the moment. Looking back afterwards, however, I was, and remain, extremely grateful for being a part of the experience.
When you’ve been around as long as I have with the Record, you get the feeling in the back of your mind that you’ll be there forever.
But just like PBL’s upset win over Warrensburg-Latham, I did not see my layoff coming. I guess you’ve got to take the bad surprises with the good.
Hopefully, some of your greatest moments of your life were somehow enhanced by my work of journalism.
As I write this, I remain completely uncertain about what the future holds, but hope there are many great moments ahead for me, and for all of you.