This has never been my dream job.
My dream job was to play baseball for 20 years for the Atlanta Braves. I wanted to be the guy hitting game-winning home runs and throwing the third strike pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning to win Game 7 of the World Series. Obviously, that didn’t happen.
Since I had to work at something, I thought it might not be so bad to go to games to work if I couldn’t play in them. So that is what I have been doing for the last 37 years here at The P-I. As fun as all of it has been, it is time for me to give it up and retire.
I’m not going to bore you with all the details on why this is the right time, just know that it is for me and my family. I’m still good at reporting games and taking photos. I still have my health and while my wife has had trouble kicking COVID symptoms, she is good to go, too.
But, there are my three grandkids. Emma is eight while Levi is just a little over two and Helen has just celebrated her first birthday. Those three need a lot of attention and chasing. I plan to give them more attention than they can stand and I think maybe I can still do a little chasing. I’m going to find out.
When my twin daughters, Shelby and Stephanie, came along, this was the perfect job to be able to help raise them. We put together each day’s newspaper in the morning and went to press shortly after noon.
That got me out of the office in time to do yard work at the house, pick up the kids at school, practice ball with them and assign myself to cover their games at night.
Now, I spend all day writing stories and processing photos so that we can send pages to Murray that will be on the street the next morning on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Then I am at a game somewhere most nights and Saturdays.
I don’t have that free time to do yard work anymore. I am in the office when kids get out of school or go to practice and usually, I’m required to be at another game, when they play ball.
That’s just not how I want to do things with Emma, Levi and Helen. I want to be just as involved with everything they are doing as I was when Shelby and Stephanie grew up.
There are many, many other reasons, but that is the big one. And, I want to finally be a fan. When you cover games, you are supposed to be impartial (yeah, right!) and cheering is frowned on. When you are always looking at a specific point through a camera lens, you miss many things that are going on in a game. I want to see the entire field for a change.
So I plan to still go to a ton of Henry County sporting events and I’m going to cheer. I may not be out there honking a horn and screaming as loud as Randy Long, but I will be showing my support.
On second thought, you never know, I might just climb on the bench right beside Long. I’ve known him for at least as many years as I’ve worked here and we’ve been softball teammates, so I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t mind if I screamed for the Patriots sitting beside him at Patriot Stadium.
Before I go, I need to thank some people. First, I want to thank everybody who served under me as a sports writer. I was so fortunate to always work with smart people who were dedicated and did a great job of helping me cover the games around Henry County. The second group that I can never thank enough is all the coaches that I have worked with in the different sports. Everyone has always bent over backwards to be sure I had the information I needed to report on their teams. In the last few years, I have leaned on the coaches even harder to send me photos of their scorebooks and other details about their teams. They have done so without any complaints and have helped to make me look good.
Finally, I want to thank all of you that read the newspaper. It would have been impossible for me to spend 37 years going to Henry County’s sporting events if you had not been buying and reading newspapers. Whatever you do, don’t stop. Newspapers are important to every community. They get vital information out to the public and they serve as a means to record history. Thank all of you and God bless!
So here I go on this new adventure, but the message is still going to be the same — Go Big Red!
TOMMY PRIDDY is a Paris native who has been sports editor at The Post-Intelligencer since 1985. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Thanks for your decades of work at the P-I. So many clippings in my keepsake box have the Tommy Priddy byline. Paris/Henry County was served well during your time there. Job well done!
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