A fun journey is coming to an end

In late April of 2018, I began serving as the sports editor. Here we are nearly exactly five years later to the day and I’m writing to tell you that this spring season will be my last couple months in the position.

What started as just a job to give me my first full-time position out of college quickly turned into a passion. The expectation was to fill the position for a couple years, but I’ve since had the chance to watch some athletes go through the entire high school process, from freshmen year to graduation and even into college for some.

With anything I do in life, I try and give 100% to it. With this job, I think I gave closer to 110%, but I didn’t necessarily start the position expecting that.

Actually, I moved here with little to no history of the area or its sports teams, venues and events. I was pretty intimidated by that fact, but I quickly settled in, thanks in large part to our audience and co-workers who gave me pretty much free reign.

I can still remember being introduced to coaches for the first time and remarks saying something along the theme of “so you’re the next sports editor?” referencing the several sports editors who preceded me, with a hint of them expecting me to also only last a few months or a year or two at most.

Since that point, I believe, and have been told, that we together have created a sports section and coverage that many other areas of the state and country couldn’t fathom.

Covering 14 high schools pretty much on my own isn’t an easy feat, but thanks to schools, athletic directors, coaches, athletes and fans, it’s become achievable.

It started with the lone people conversing with me at sporting events being the athletes or coaches I interviewed, but has turned into a rare occurrence now, instead having fans, players, coaches and ADs striking up conversations most times before I can even make it from my vehicle to the place where the event is taking place. Those little interactions mean a lot to me, and are part of what inspired me to keep trying to improve the coverage and keep growing our audience.

Unfortunately, I don’t know how to tone down the effort level, especially wanting to always keep improving. That’s led to me being worn me down and introduced headaches and stress into my life. For those reasons, along with wanting to explore some other interests in life, among other things, I’ve decided that this spring will be my last days in the position.

I plan to be here through June, which will cover the rest of the spring season and all the end-of-the-season recaps, like all-conference stories and the All-Region sections.

Luckily, with the amount of talent both individually and as teams the area boasts this spring, it’s a perfect way to cap off this job for me.

Coverage won’t change from past years and seasons, and hopefully we can make several more memories in the next several weeks. I’ll also be working on setting things up so there’s a smooth transition after I depart, and hopefully the sports section can continue growing and reach new heights.

I’m looking forward to what the rest of the spring season holds and will certainly stay in the loop in the years to come.

Writing this column is not only a way to let you all know what the future holds, but I also hopes serves as a thank you of sorts to you all for making this such an enjoyable experience.

Morgan Rode is the sports editor for NEW Media. Readers can contact him at sports@newmedia-wi.com.