I always figured if someone spent close to 30 years at one job, they had better enjoyed themselves.
Well, I sure did.
For 28 years, I was able to say I worked for the Miami Herald. It was a dream job in every sense of the word. I actually dreamed of working at the Herald since I was a youngster at Gratigny Elementary, bringing the Herald sports section to school each day.
Throughout my school years — at Gratigny, Thomas Jefferson Junior High and Cooper City High — I always had a Herald sports section with me.
Never miss a local story.
Sometimes I read it in class.
Some teachers were cool with it, others not so much.
Anyway, I couldn’t believe it when the Herald hired me during my senior year at the Coop.
It started out working Sunday afternoon compiling high school basketball stats in our old Fort Lauderdale office off Sunrise Boulevard.
My responsibilities would eventually grow.
I will be eternally grateful to the Miami Herald for the opportunity I have been given.
Through the years, I have been able to interact with some of the very best people — athletes and coaches, yes — South Florida has to offer.
I also got to work with some of the all-time greats in our business both at the Herald as well as our “competitors” both on the newspaper side but also in television and radio.
Since I started covering the Panthers on a full-time basis in 2004, I spent more time with people who covered and worked for the Panthers than I did my own family. In a way, we all became like a family.
And I will miss them.
This isn’t goodbye, however.
Friday is my last day at the Herald (Jan. 31, 1989-Oct. 6, 2017) but I will still be around.
Next week I begin a new challenge in Columbus, Ohio, covering the NHL’s Blue Jackets for the Dispatch. I have plenty of family and friends there and look forward to getting to know all the new faces I will encounter in the Buckeye State.
Aside for the weather (and covering a brand new team), the transition shouldn’t be too difficult.
Southwest Airlines has plenty of flights between C-Bus and Fort Lauderdale, and I intend on taking advantage of those opportunities.
It's time to move on, time to get going; What lies ahead, I have no way of knowing; But under my feet, baby, grass is growing
And, in case you didn’t know, the Miami Herald has plenty of ways to read our content from afar.
As I have my whole life, I will continue to read the Herald.
It will just be from somewhere else.
The Jackets visit the Panthers next month, and I’ll be back for that. It will be a bit strange walking into the Sunrise arena as part of the visiting media, but I’m sure I will adjust.
Thanks to all who read my stuff over the years and thanks to those who have made a difference in my life — many of whom I would have never had met had former Herald sportswriter Jim Martz not called Cooper City athletic director Hollis Coleman to find out who that chatty bag boy at Publix was.
Jim Martz offered me the most part-time of positions a job could offer. I jumped at the chance.
It turned into something no one — especially me — could have imagined.
It was a great run. Let’s see what is next.
See you at the rink — George
George Richards: @GeorgeRichards