Of course this goodbye blog was finished just before 3 a.m.
Of course the nonstop attempt to do this job justice meant giving a little here to provide a little more there. Specifically, it was the late-night decision to blog about KHTK's Jason Ross and his family and tomorrow night's bone marrow program before the Kings-Lakers game that changed the original plan for the evening.
Plan A, of course, was to craft a parting piece that would serve two purposes: announce that my incredibly-fulfilling time at The Bee that dates back to 1998 will come to an end today and naturally provide the what's-next? portion of the programming by telling you all that I'm heading to Fanhouse to cover the NBA. This is the end of one fantastic challenge and the beginning of a new one, a calculated move into the web-only world of sports media that thankfully won't involve a change in address.
So much for crafting. When it comes to this job, you do it by feel and follow instincts and trust where your head and heart take you every single day. So, yeah, this really is fitting.
This job was never only about the finished product, anyways. When it wasn't about trying to serve the reader as the Kings beat writer, it was about meeting people like Ross who made you better for knowing them. These are people I never would have met had The Bee not entrusted me with this position back in the summer of 2005, meaning I owe enormous and endless thanks to editors Tom Negrete and the departed Rick Rodriguez for providing opportunity and Bill Bradley for always being on board for what became such a memorable experience.
There are plenty of people who don't need this public gratitude to know what they meant. Yet because this is the blogosphere - that limitless space in which I so often rushed to discuss such pressing matters like the future of Rashad McCants - please indulge me a little longer here.
To Joe Davidson (who knows the real reason he hired me to answer phones and beg for chances to write during my college years), former sports editor Armando Acuna (whose valuable editing was never better than the day he introduced me to the word "maudlin" while harshly assessing a feature I was convinced was fantastic), Vic Contreras (a good man who knows all too well what this gig did to me on some days) Ahmed Ortiz (an entertaining, creative spirit and top-notch editor), Barbara Zumwalt (a gem), Jane Hughes-Yeung (resident copy desk angel and pumpkin patch partner) and Ailene Voisin (an appreciated colleague and friend who really doesn't love Ricky Rubio as much as everyone insists).
A special thanks to Mark Kreidler, the former Bee columnist and resident Rise Guy who was officially my first sports department contact at The Bee long before he became the most classy of colleagues and friends. I was still a Sacramento State student on that cold day late in 1998, selling Bee subscriptions in front of yet another supermarket and reading the sports page to pass the time on a slow sales day. The job at the time was to man the three-foot tall, plastic Bee post and coerce the passers-by to sign their names on the dotted line.
But as difficult as this public admission may be, there was a short stretch there where I stopped the sales pitches (sorry, Maria:). I had sneaked away to the nearest payphone, deciding to cold-call Kreidler after his latest column got me thinking about the whos and whats and hows of sports writing. The message seeking advice and guidance from a stranger was returned just days later (to my pager, of course), when Kreidler became the first of many people I would feel so lucky for knowing at this place I am now leaving.
To my closest colleagues and readers, the sincerest of thanks. - Sam Amick