By Mark Carpenter –
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It really is for most of us. The time for giving and receiving, though many of us seem to get too hung up on the latter, guilty myself many times. It is a time for family most of all, and my wish for each and every one of you is that you get to enjoy many special moments with your loved ones over the next week and share many special memories of loved one who are not with you. This is the first Christmas that my extended family is headed in different directions at different times, so it will take some adjustments, but we will manage.
First off, I want to take this special time to thank all of you who faithfully read my sports pages each week. It is an overwhelming task at times, but a rewarding one, when I get a message, a text, a phone call, or a ‘good job” when you see me in person, I get that “warm, fuzzy feeling” all over. Well, that may just be too much heat in the office or gym, but you can never be sure. Merry Christmas to you all!
To all of the outstanding student-athletes in this county who make the job so easy with all of your incredible talents that I get to enjoy day after day, a giant thank you. You all have such bright future ahead of you and I hope that in some small way, I have made your high school athletic careers a little more memorable. Merry Christmas to you all!
To all of the coaches, athletic directors and administrators who make sure that I am well taken care of when I am on the job, another huge thank you. I am not sure how I could handle this job without the amusing conversations with Chris Young or the constant humor from Matt Young ( not to mention the Reese’s Cups he provided me with on each trip to North Adams). To be honest, I would be lost without the constant assistance of one Tony Williams, who likely gets tired of me constantly texting and e-mailing him, but who I know has a special Christmas this year, his first with the ball and chain, oops, I mean his first as a happily married man. Merry Christmas to you all!
To all of you who have lives so boring that you have to follow me on social media, a big thank you for all that entertainment. Sometimes, social media is one big “Festivus” with the airing of grievances seeming like the thing to do, but not from me. Social media is an information tool, not a complaint department, so to all of you who message me, post great stuff that I can share, send me photos for the paper, or just keep me updated, another huge thank you. It is almost like I have become family with over 3,000 people, which may be a little odd but it is the way of the new generation. Now if you can just find the Grinch who has invaded my Facebook and will not let me post pictures recently, please send him right back to Who Ville. Merry Christmas to you all!
To the Cincinnati Reds, the Cincinnati Bengals, the New York Mets, the Kentucky Wildcats, the Dallas Cowboys, and even the Fighting Irish, thank you for allowing me to escape from reality every now and then and be a fan. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes it rains. (Think about it.) Sports is something we sometimes take far too seriously, but those favorite teams and players become a part of our heart, and losing becomes difficult sometimes, but so far the sun has come up every one of those next mornings. Merry Christmas to you all!
To the greatest group of co-workers in history, a great big thank you. Each person in this office adds their own unique talents that produces an unparalleled product twice a week. Peggy with her talents to do basically everything, Terry with his sense of humor, knowledge of sports, and connections to everyone, Amber with her ability to laugh at everything (even if no one else thinks it is funny) and her knack for knowing just about everyone in Adams County, and Pat for her outstanding writing ability and ability to research that puts everyone in the area to shame. We have had another year of change, but we made it through with flying colors. Merry Christmas to you all!
Finally, I have to thank a family that puts up with the long hours that I spend in this office and at some sporting event somewhere. To a son that is my pride and joy and I don’t get to see nearly enough, a daughter who has made us all more than proud (and gets me lots of nice Reds stuff), and a wife who spends most of her time babysitting the dog while I am out, Merry Christmas to you all!
Now it is time for us all to take some time and reflect back on another year, and get regenerated to do it all over again. Enjoy your special Christmas time, enjoy the smiles of the children, eat plenty of good holiday food, and remember that Santa is the magic of the season but a little baby is the reason for the season. Merry Christmas to you all!