On my 65th birthday last November, my daughter Kate and her husband Joseph gave me a pretty, little sack. Inside, I found two tiny, red tennis shoes and a note:
“Time to put the house on the market . . . “
I was left with a dumbfounded smile as my wife yelled out in a high-pitched exclamation that made Kate and Joseph giggle.
They were going to have a baby.
Jan, my wife, and I had “threatened” to just sell our house and move to Fort Smith to be grandparents when and if Kate became pregnant. I’m not sure if she and Joseph thought we were serious or not.
But the timing turned out to be perfect. As a 65-year-old, I was suddenly eligible for elderly benefits. Social Security will actually give me a raise because in recent months BryantDaily.com had lost a couple of revenue streams that had left me treading water.
For Jan, though she doesn’t turn 65 until Christmas Eve, it proved to be a perfect situation too because, with the Covid-19 protocols, she had gone from teaching art to all of the students at Bryant Elementary School in her own classroom to walking the halls of the school to teach them in their own classrooms, “art on a cart”. Already suffering with sore feet from standing on the concrete floors to teach for over 30 years, the constant moving about had worn her out.
And so, we’re retiring and moving to Fort Smith to be grandparents.
The more pertinent question as far as you are concerned, dear readers, is that BryantDaily.com will go dormant. I’ll keep it “up” as an archival resource for a while and, this summer, there will be coverage of the Bryant Black Sox Senior American Legion team, but it will probably be spotty since we’ll be selling our house, finding one in Fort Smith, packing, moving, unpacking, etc.
I am so very grateful to you for visiting the site over the years. It’s certainly been a joy covering Bryant sports over the last 25 years. (And before that covering Benton sports and, before that, Fayetteville sports).
It’s a bittersweet decision. We have so many friends in Saline County and following Bryant athletics has been great. But life is short, and grandbabies are only babies so long.
As you can see, the ads on BryantDaily.com have been pulled down, but I am so grateful to all those who advertised on the page and helped it continue, particularly Pat Blakely at Bin There Dump That, Laryssa Calley and Shelter Insurance, and Tim Hall and Chad Hendrix at Everett Buick GMC.
I am deeply grateful for the friendship and the stellar photography of Rick Nation and Kevin Nagle. Great guys and wonderful photographers. They shot pictures for me (and you) while working fulltime elsewhere.
Over my 34 years as a sportswriter, I have seen many, many athletes come through and move on along with their parents. I appreciate them all.
But the folks I’ll miss most will be the coaches. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to get to know most of them pretty well. They are some of my favorite people. I admire them so much. I mean, anyone whose livelihood depends on the whimsy of teenagers, has my respect. They have to motivate them and form them into teams and responsible teammates.
I thank the coaches for being so gracious and patient with me.
I once described myself as something of a “remora”, a suckerfish which has latched onto the great white shark that is Bryant athletics and is hanging on for the ride. It’s been a doozy.