As far as editors go, I have been as hands off as they come.
That comes from being a writer, first and foremost, and therefore understanding that it’s only right to let the author retain a voice.
You think I was going to make something written by Ron Borges…or Bernard Fernandez…or George Kimball better?
I first sat in this editor chair in the first quarter of 2007.
Little was I to know how long I’d sit here…and what inventions would blow into our lives in that tenure–hello, Twitter, 140 character heroin, a junkie’s heaven for someone seeking news, and to communicate, all the time…….
…and who would be departing–thinking of you, Kimball, and how you emailed me right before you died, and told me to be ready for that next story you were going to be firing my way.
How could I know what people I’d cross paths, and swords, with…and what strange, and wonderful, and sad stories I’d cover, in this, the realm of the savage science, the theater of the unexpected, and the expected, because you can always count on boxing to keep you on your toes..and sometimes sneak in a hook that drops you.
Kids arrived while I (pictured above, photo courtesy Vladimir Lik, in Gleason’s Gym) sat in this chair, and I give thanks that the position afforded me some leeway in setting my schedule. Just about every single day since I took the chair, I’d start my day with coffee, and then post something to TSS.
And I’d end my night, most of ’em, with one last post, before I’d brush my teeth and lay head to pillow.
The kids graduated, from diapers, to iPads, and saw dad, tap, tap, tapping away. The routine of feeding the beast, keeping you all updated on the goings-on in the sport, was a constant as fate handed me gift baskets and the occasional kick to the groin. There was a comforting continuity, as folks buckled up right next to me for this ride, the bumpy parts and the smooth portions. People like David Avila…ever so classy, so reliable…a role model, for how he took himself into the gyms, and shut his trap, and watched, and listened, and respected the craft and the artisans who plied this dark trade.
Frankie Lotierzo, maybe my favorite Republican, he’s been with me the whole time. Me being a hands-off editor, I let Frank be Frank. I let his writing, in that voice, the voice of a sagacious fan, but one who’d been in that ring, felt that sting, the burning lungs, felt the bruises barking at him days after taking the hits, be. And he re-paid me by sharing his most incisive analysis, invariably spot-on, year after year. Every year, I’d email him, tell him he won an award in my book.
And please don’t think I didn’t pinch myself, in this seat, when I’d received a Thomas Hauser column. “Editing” Hauser meant looking to catch a rare misspelling. I’d read the copy, learn from it, enjoy the self-same way you all do: as a fan.
Welcoming relative newbies into the fold, the Lee Wylies—I saw this British factory workers’ Tweets and knew this guy needed a larger stage– and Kelsey McCarsons, that gave me great pleasure. To give a talented person a little larger of a platform was and is the least I could do, as I, as the years pass, become more of that veteran guy who only I hope very rarely annoy the younger bucks with stories of “how it used to be.”
To discover and help a bit in spreading the word about the talents of a superior wordsmith, like a Springs Toledo, that feeling would serve as a form of currency which offered a potent payoff. No, I wouldn’t get rich doing this. The nurturing of my soul, in a place I could share my musings on the human character, through the fight-game filter, that enriched me immensely.
I’m heading to round twelve of this column, my last for TSS, and I am going to finish the flurry with the most logical of emotions on this day, and on this occasion: gratitude.
I thank the powers that be for giving me this opportunity, where they let me be me, gave me a majestic autonomy, asking not much beyond not indulging in salty language. That gift, that trust, was worth more than money…
Thanks to the readers, for clicking on the stories, for sending those heartfelt notes of appreciation now and again, which would sometimes make my morning, noon and night.
This day and time of year, a period to get into proper perspective mode, try to remodulate yourself, if only for a brief spell, pivot away from the focus and fixation on material objects and self enrichment, it’s a great time to offer my thanks. For reading my columns. For allowing me the honor and pleasure of sharing my words and thoughts with you.. and thanks for allowing the incursions of politics and philosophy into the pugilistic mix, and indulging my addiction to ellipses…
Time now to move on from this platform, to others.
Maybe some satellite, perhaps a podcast, more time on camera, communicate with my voice more than by tapping the keyboard.
It’s time to hit the re-set a little bit. Eight years..it’s time.
Time to say a final “thank you for reading,” and to wave goodbye.
I am leaving this space, and I want my final words here to properly render this rewarding experience:
PEOPLE, THANK YOU FOR READING.