With the way 2013 ended here in the SVM sports department, it would be easy to think that this was an unlucky year.
For those that don't know, Christopher Heimerman moved to the news side. That was good for the news side and good for Chris.
But, for the sports department, it meant one less position, and for the foreseeable future, that position isn't coming back.
So, we'll be forced to make some changes in coverage in the coming weeks and months. It's my charge to figure out how to make it work best.
That's a worry for 2014.
For now, we are the few, and we are proud.
I've spent a long time thinking about 2013 and it made me realize that I am pretty lucky to be here.
I remember sitting at home last February when I received the news of Bruce Scheidegger's death in a single-car accident.
It was a shame because the former Sterling coach and athletic director was a well-liked and well-respected person within our community.
I remember receiving a call from my journalism mentor, Paul Skrbina, who was in Florida at the APSE judging conference. We talked about the tragedy, and how to handle it journalistically.
Speed up several months, and I was sleeping in my bed when my phone beeped with a text. It was from my predecessor, Will Larkin.
He was astonished to see how few football playoff teams we were going to have.
A month later, he sent another text making sure I saw that Sterling graduate Tyler Loos was named to the MAC's All-Conference first team.
Why do these little things from former colleagues make me think about 2013? Well, it makes me appreciate what I am doing.
I could walk down memory lane with this column.
I could bring up Eastland's run to the state basketball tournament and sitting on the edge of my seat in Peoria hoping that Dalton Shaner would hit that game-winning shot.
I can admit to being disappointed when it didn't happen.
I could talk about seeing the Sterling softball team – comprised of some of the players I had covered when they were trekking though the Little League Central Regional – making a thrilling run to the state tournament.
But, you've heard all that before.
There are countless memories and hundreds of stories tapped out on my keyboard and pages drawn up on my computer.
What I think about are the little things and not the things that I can't control.
A few months after Will left here, he sent me a text about how hard it was to get this job out of his system.
See, both he and Paul sat in my chair, shouldering a pretty heavy load. There were nights when it didn't seem worth it. There were long days that never seemed to end.
But, once they left for good, they missed it.
See, it's a special thing we do here, and not always easily replaced no matter how great the next job is.
It has to do with the players we cover. The teams we watch. The people we meet, and the work we accomplish. Mostly, it's a chance to be an active part of the community.
While 2013 had some unlucky moments, I'll always feel lucky to have been here.