I Am Leaving, I Am Leaving…

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.

That, and…what?…

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.

Digital.

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.

 

 

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COMMENTS

-Radam G :

Thanks be to you, Editor Mike. You were da MAN! And we are going to miss you keeping this Universe a calm cool place of intrigue, respect and information. May you have the greatest successes in your next adventure. Holla!


-dino da vinci :

Short list of boxing's very best. Certainly deserving of a spot at a SHOWTIME, HBO, ESPN... Best of luck at all future endeavors, nobody has worked harder to earn their stripes. You will be missed.


-brownsugar :

You will be missed Mr Woods, you have created a fantastic space for readers to consume the most pertinent and applicable stories from the boxing communities along with the ability to disperse our own opinions into the boxing universe. I can't begin to express how large a piece of my life this site has become in the last 5 or six years.... And how rewarding it has been to have been a participant. As I personally find my time to contribute receding due to the day to day obligations and new responsibilities, I have to thank you and Dino for creating the most vivid and responsive boxing news environment I have ever known. I wish you well in future endeavors. Your tenor here has been exemplary. Good luck and much success.


-Springs Toledo :

Almost seven years ago now, the late great Joe Rein sent you something I wrote about Roberto Duran. You accepted it, published it on TSS, and have been a friend to me ever since. You're an invaluable primary source of boxing news, a tireless editor, and a writer with a voice that never stales or stalls. Although you are leaving The Sweet Science, may you never leave "the Sweet Science." You are truly one of boxing's good guys. Thank you for your expertise, your talents, and most of all your many kindnesses.


-Shoulder Roll Defense :

Best of luck to you on your future endeavors. Take care Mike, God bless!


-Avila :

M, as I have called you all these years, it was a great pleasure working with you. An era has passed. I look forward to seeing you in New York again. Best of luck in whatever you do. You are the best man. No doubt. Best wishes to you and the family my friend.


-stormcentre :

Wicked stuff Mike. You have dropped some freaky-chakra-Zen-reporting/writing boxing stuff on us over the past few years, whilst at the same time also administratively letting us have fun kicking the azz that both needs and (sometimes even) begs for it. All for a laugh. It's been fun. Thanks. Best luck with all future endeavors. And remember, don't forget to keep on keeping it . . . . Snoop Doggy Dog Dog, real!!!!
StormCentre.


-kidcanvas :

dang woodsy , that left me saddened but you know it sounded awfully familiar( the family ,late night work) just a different vocation, i hear you and i say thank you for time and im sure we will see you in another boxing endeavor. all the best to you. ps. Franks the man!


-leon30001 :

See you later!


-oubobcat :

Best of luck Editor Mike. I have enjoyed reading your columns on here for a very long time. You do a great job covering the sport and I am certain we will be seeing a lot more of you in the future.


-amayseng :

Thanks for everything Mike, we will miss you. Good luck with your future endeavors. Be sure to swing by from time to time.


-riverside :

Thanks Mike! your work has been valuable in what TSS has turned out to be. Good luck


-deepwater2 :

I am sorry to see you go from here. Best of luck in the future. See you at the fights.


-Skibbz :

Wish you all the best Mike, it's the end of the beginning I'm sure you will go onto more success in the future.


-Pazuzu :

Fare thee well, Woodsy. You've built one helluva site. Hauser brought me here, and then imagine my delight to discover Lotierzo, Avila, Springs Toledo and all the others, not to mention a readers' forum, which, at its best, rivals any other boxing site out there. All in all, a damn fine piece of work for an eight year run. i'll be looking forward to your next act.


-Domenic :

All the best Mike. I've been reading TSS since 2005, and this is where I go for boxing news (not ESPN, etc). Your tenure ran almost parallel to Klitschko's post-Sanders reign. You will be missed.