Flashback time: January 2005. Just over 16 years ago.
I’m standing underneath the basket in the North Clay gymnasium, covering an MTC Tournament game. I’m pretty sure Cisne was one of the teams playing at the time. And some creepy dude with a beard approaches me.
Wait, what? Where is this going again?
Creepy dude says “I own a paper and I need a sportswriter. You interested?”
He hands me a card.
“Tom Matthews Jr., Wayne County Press.”
And the first thought that popped into my mind. “Wayne County Press? Those are the people that put out that stupid pink paper.” I immediately brushed off the idea. What kind of gimmicky hogwash is a pink paper anyway? Can’t be a serious paper. I almost didn’t even keep the card.
The next morning, I tell my mentor of this encounter. The guy who had just escaped the paper I was then at. He immediately chastises me for the cavalier response. And then says the words that changed my life. “Weez, you want that job. Call him back.”
So I did. And well, we know the rest. 16 years later, my life is completely different because of the turn I took at that crossroads. New town, new people…eventually a wife…even a new job eventually. But the WCP will forever be a part of me, whether I’m still helping part time or not. And I’m better for it.
That decision was one of those life changing decisions. And it almost didn’t happen because of the Pink Press. Yesterday was the 132nd such edition, a community institution I didn’t understand in 2006. Every year, I remember this story. I’ve told it a hundred times, but never written about it.
So, go buy a copy of yesterday’s Pink Press (#buyadamnpaper), or don’t. Who knows, it might be keeping the next almost mediocre sportswriter out of Fairfield.