The words of a late Chinese philosopher that are so oft-repeated and used as a high school class motto state, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Every pilgrimage has to start somewhere and end sometime. For me, my first single step is coming to a close.
Extra Point began back in July of 2011 as a 15-year-old me penned the first installment of this column about my former basketball coach at Northern Lehigh getting a second chance at Lehighton. Today, it is ending as 19-year-old me penned this farewell column.
Deciding to end this column and thus finish my consistent relationship with the Town & Country Gazette was one of the hardest choices I have had to make in my life. Joe Korba and Alice Wanamaker not only gave me a chance to get my journalism career started, but I am ever grateful that they did not laugh me out of the building after pitching the idea of Extra Point for them back in May of 2011.
Both have done so much for me over the years. They have taught me a lot about journalism, publications, and business. Most importantly, they were great bosses and even better friends. I am eternally grateful to them and owe everything I ever accomplish to them, as they gave me my start.
As the column progressed and grew from appearing once per month to every issue, I blossomed as a writer. Nearly every writer dislikes their early writings and I am absolutely a part of that group as the early columns hurt me to read, but I am thankful that I was given the opportunity to write them.
However, I didn’t just grow on my own. I received so much help from other sports journalists around the greater Lehigh Valley area. As just a teenager out on the local sports scene, I did not expect to get the respect, help, and friendliness that I did from the individuals that I aspire to be. Keith Groller, Tom Housenick, Stephen Miller, Mike Haines, and Bruce Buratti are just a few of the people that have helped mold me to be the journalist that I am today.
Lastly, I’d like to thank you, the readers, for making Extra Point great. Over the years, I have been told by many, familiar and unknown, that they are avid readers of the column. I loved hearing from you all whether in person or through email and letters. It was great to know that my work was being enjoyed.
Being able to write Extra Point over the years has been a blessing that I will cherish forever. It allowed me interview former NFL players, a former WWE wrestler, a Fox News commentator, and of course, the great local student athletes, coaches, and athletic directors.
As I move on to take the next step on this journey, I’ll never forget the inaugural move I made with the Town & Country Gazette. None of this or whatever the future holds for me would be possible without this space that I have occupied for years and the great coaches and student athletes that have treated me with the utmost respect since day one. I hope all the Extra Points that I’ve written are enough to help me win this game called life, when it is all said and done.