Prior to my big career change toward IT, I spent two years in Indiana working as the sports editor for the Angola Herald-Republican, a twice-weekly newspaper serving the northeast corner of Indiana.
The paper was a totally local operation meaning we produced everything we published without the help of a wire service. And we did this with an editorial staff of five people. It was a pretty well-respected paper too. In the three state press association awards banquets I attended, we twice won the Blue Ribbon prize awarded to the best weekly newspaper in the state. And in 1997, I personally won two first-place awards including Best Sports Section, an award I’m very proud of because I put a lot of effort into putting out a professionally packaged section every issue.
I enjoyed my time in Indiana but I never really fit in. Angola was a cottage country community of about 30,000 people with pretty traditional family values. And as much as I’m a pretty conservative kind of guy, these people made me feel like I was the second coming of Stalin sometimes.
But boy, were they ever crazy about their sports. As a kid, I always enjoyed playing sports, and later, as a professional writer I enjoyed reporting about them too, but I’d hardly call myself a fanatic. I don’t live and die by any team and if I miss a score I don’t go ballistic. But Hoosiers, well, they’re crazy. So for me, after a while all the games started melting into the same story. One team loses. Another team wins. Only the names change. So I got a little bored about doing the same thing for the rest of my life . . .