Whitt's End

After six great years at the Dallas Observer, they're dragging me out kicking, screaming and, yes, grateful.

It's creepy to write your own obituary. Nonetheless, I'm dead. This truly is Whitt's End, my final column at the Dallas Observer.

While I'm actually alive and relatively well, budget cuts — you've heard of those? — have forced the Observer to eliminate its full-time sportswriting position, one of the few, and one of the last, in alternative weeklies. Basically I'm getting the old "it's not you, it's me" routine. But semantics are of small consolation when, in fact, your spouse of six years is ditching your ass. One week your syntax don't stink, the next you're the fat that requires trimming.

Last week, my final proper column for the paper was about veteran Rangers star Michael Young. As a tie into the paper's apocalypse-themed Best of Dallas issue, it was teased on the cover with a headline that screamed: "The End is Near!"

Irony is a funny, cold-hearted bitch like that.

I'll be fine. VVM graciously sent me packing, and even offered me this rare chance to say goodbye. I also have that afternoon radio show at KRLD-FM 105.3 The Fan that affords me an opinion outlet. With any luck some columns and blogging may show up at CBS' web site.

It is, however, unsettling at best waking up without a newspaper gig. Haven't done it, in fact, since accepting a staff position at UT-Arlington's The Shorthorn in 1983.

I arrived at the Observer in September of 2005 anxious to shove envelopes and obliterate barriers and yes — shit, yes! — express myself in a journalistic manner that was forbidden at the conservative Fort Worth Star-Telegram, where I'd toiled since 1986. My plan wasn't to have you agree with me, only to make you curious — or even furious — over my offerings. I hope I both pissed you off and turned you on. For the most part, I think it worked.

In six years I wrote more than 300 columns and won 13 national, state and local writing awards. I opined about everything from Terrell Owens to Russ Martin to Dwayne Goodrich to Dirk Nowitzki to my all-time favorite athlete, Eric, an autistic basketball player in the Special Olympics. In the last 12 months alone, I've witnessed the Rangers in the World Series, the Mavericks in the NBA Finals and the Cowboys in the Super Bowl. Well, at least their stadium.

I've never viewed being a sportswriter as a job. More so a privilege. Getting paid to attend sporting events is something I knew I wanted to do from the time I was 8 years old, when I'd listen to Rangers games on the radio, scribble my recaps on a Big Chief tablet and then pester my parents and friends to read them. Born to write. Dedicated to being right.

Unfortunately newspaper sports columnists are a somewhat dying breed, especially at alt-weeklies. I may be merely a symptom instead of the sickness, but I'm also a casualty. Just this year Jim Reeves (Fort Worth Star-Telegram) and Jean-Jacques Taylor (The Dallas Morning News) left their long-time posts at mainstream papers for Internet-based writing. Not a month goes by that we don't absorb the news of another round of layoffs at the DMN or FWS-T and, shoot, even Observer competitor Quick recently shuttered its operation. The biggest local media drama come 2012 will be which mainstream remaining columnist will virtually blink first: Randy Galloway or Tim Cowlishaw?

And to think, I grew up in an era when Dallas had two daily papers — the DMN and Dallas Times Herald — and the FWS-T published both a morning and afternoon edition.

During my Observer career it's been a pleasure and an honor to work for editors like Julie Lyons, Mark Donald and Joe Tone and alongside staff writers Robert Wilonsky and Jim Schutze, who remain the true blood coursing through the paper's print and online veins. I have no doubt the Observer will fervently remain a relevant, raucous option to the rest of the metroplex's mainstream media bullshit.

You'll carry on just fine without Entourage. Without Mike Modano. Sans the NBA preseason. And, yes, without me.

In death, here's hoping my great beyond is half as fun and fruitful as my life at the Observer.

Don't be a stranger.

Editor's note: Richie's not always right — you ever hear his take on paternity leave for athletes? — but he often is, and he certainly is right about this. It sucks. The Observer is one of only a handful of alt-weeklies to have ever employed a full-time sportswriter, and one of the last to bid that job adieu. For now we will continue covering sports — the games themselves and the culture and business that go with them — on our news blog, Unfair Park, and in these pages when the need arises. And we'll obviously continue to focus on local news, music, entertainment, food and booze. That last one should come in especially handy this week.

—Joe Tone, editor

 
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28 comments
Matthew Williams
Matthew Williams

Terrible news I've always looked forward to reading the Observer's sports columns.

Mikecapps1960
Mikecapps1960

Talk about irony, Richie is a much better writer than radio personality. That said, I still love listenin to him (mostly disagreeing with him) on the fan.

Rooster
Rooster

In the spirit of my favorite column, Cheap Bastard, I put the following on a plate for you to enjoy (As you can ship it...) Boudreaux, what in the wide wide world o' sports does it take 4 U 2B worth workin' 4, FOOLS?! All ya gotta do is brainstorm a little & use something they call ADVERTISING & POOF everybody gonna wanna see "BUT WHAT DID THE OBSERVER SAY THIS WEEK ABOUT...(Richie SHIIIIT! [his words, obviously not mine])" Ya GOTTA A GUY ON RADIO & IN YOUR RAG, MAKE A DEAL OUT OF IT. OBVIOUSLY THIS WOULD BE OVER YOUR HEAD, SO I'll say it agin 4 da too cheap seats: MAKE A DEAL OUT OF IT, FOOL! & ADVERTISE! YA EVER TRY IT OUTSIDE YOUR RAG? Let's say some1 inda rag wants to blurb ABOUT THE INFAMOUS NIRVANA/TREES EPISODE. Make a big deal out of it & would it B 2 much to ask of intelligence of the place 2 put "TREES" AD SOMEWHERE CLOSER THAN 5 @#$%$#@#$$$$$ pages away? THAT is what I'm talkin' about! You'll put a retraction on the cover but the columnust ain't worth an effort to keep? THEN NEITHER ARE YOU! CAPICHE, FOOL? Try harder! It's not that hard to find a couple 20 bars to rotate sponsorship of a column, let alone sports eqpt.... Have you thought about national advertisers (as if - sorry, obvious by now) about bothering to sponsor a columnist in trouble? If U aren't able to COME UP WITH WHAT IT TAKES to keep your own staff on line (while waving the budget in an attempt to keep them in line), you have risen to your highest level of incompetance & indifference. The price 4 incompetance & indifference is contempt. Rise above, Farkwar, huh?! Thanks from us all in the community!@#$%$#$#@!@#%$%^^^& Yours truly, Robert G. Cogburn

Zester69
Zester69

"It is, however, unsettling at best waking up without a newspaper gig. Haven't done it, in fact, since accepting a staff position at UT-Arlington's The Shorthorn in 1983."

You don't remember being fired from the ST and being unemployed for over a year? I sure do.

Sports Panties
Sports Panties

Again, can only hope that his radio show his next to go away. Nobody has contributed less to sports media in this town than this clown.

Lodgemike
Lodgemike

As much as this sucks, kudos to the Observer for acknowledging Richie was out and giving him time and space to say farewell. Count the number of times the DMN did that. I'm stuck at zero.

Suck It
Suck It

"Born to write. Dedicated to being right." You're kidding, right? Dude, your writing skills stink. Bye, Stink Writer.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Whitt is Bobby Carpenter. Drafted too high, not talented enough to hold the position, thinks far more of himself than the general consensus, no great loss being removed from the roster and the organization will be just fine if not better without him.

A self-serving, pimptacular farewell column. Fitting, I suppose. You go ahead and launch that new blog with your Ian/Colby paternity sitdown piece. That no one will read because we'll be here and it never got written.

In closing: Meh.

Jay
Jay

I would say Whitt more like Roy Williams rather than Carpenter. Carpenter was likable.

Storm_71
Storm_71

I agree but you might want to also mix in a little Mike Vanderjagt to bring the douchy level up.

Mike Vanderjagt
Mike Vanderjagt

I'll have you know that I am a 6 foot 5 place-kicking God among men.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Last year I compared the Fan roster to the Ranger roster and Whitt was a dead ringer for Rich Harden. How's that?

ThongNCheese
ThongNCheese

Richie said, on Twitter, he has found a new home for the Sportatorium. He'll announce it on November 1.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

"Out" Magazine has a blog section?

The General Public
The General Public

Well at least you used a public forum besides Facebook to whine about your ex employer. Nice to see that the "Twighlight" generation of whining is not constricted to those 20 years of age or younger. Guess what? Times are tough for everybody right now so who cares if you lose one of your jobs! Let your package drop and look for another media to write for. That's what a real man would do!

just thinkin'
just thinkin'

So Long, RW. The blog was a daily read until it was hi-jacked by a bunch of pinheads and their inane comments beginning about two years ago. Always appreciated your point of view, even if it differed from mine. Sorry to set "Sportatorium" leave the DO, but not sorry to see the fourth grade "intellectuals" be silenced. When your column resurfaces, disable the comments section.

Larry Mondello
Larry Mondello

That would look kind of funny. you know, an empty comments section. Like it would say Add New Comment but the comment box would be disabled and the Post As.. button would be disabled so you would get a call from granma asking why she can't post no more on Ritchie' s blog cause you are the computer expert that everyone calls in your family so you tell her to try the Reactions section instead.but her twitter don't tweet no more so then it all starts all over again with the complaining about the pain in her hip and how long she had to wait at the pharmacy today and, so I'm just sayin...., to just sayin, that it would look kind of funny. You Know?

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

We've been silenced? That's news to me. I'm not feeling silenced. See ya in City of Ate and Unfair Park.

And, hey guys, we graduated to 4th grade!!!!!!

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

I'm sorry we "intellectuals" got in the way of your Pulitzer Prize Committee research. But, since logic doesn't seem to be your strong suit, let me just present the fact that it isn't Wikipedia and we can't edit the post itself, it was filled with arrogance, errors, and half-assery all on its own, and nobody forces anyone to read the comments. Plus the little fact that the "pinheads" were the vast majority in sharing the opinion of low quality and without us the Sportatorium would've resembled its namesake LONG before now.

Plus I'd bet (it is Thursday, today was the bet-o-the-week!) that the generically-named defenders who blame the rest of us have a personal agenda and aren't just independent observers.

Without inmates there is no asylum.

Team Observer. Anyone want to CafePress those shirts? Whitt can fade in to written obscurity as far as I'm concerned.

Sir Spanks
Sir Spanks

Never really cared for Whitt. He comes off as an arrogant, overly opinionated d-bag. His last article conveys that sense of self importance as well. We supposed to pitty someone with 2-3 other high paying jobs? Nah!

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

Well, once again, something that's not on a blog for the Observer doesn't get visibility. I'll make sure to post this in CoA so the formers can nutkick or praise RW. I'll be creating my own eulogy soon.

Storm_71
Storm_71

Good to know your going as you have always done good ole cut and pasting from last weeks top ten crap and pimping your piss poor radio show. "One week your syntax don't stink, the next you're the fat that requires trimming". Don't fool yourself RW for the last six months or so or when ever you took the gig at the Fail your "writing" stunk to high hell. Honestly since you have been gone I enjoy reading the Observer alot more without your egotistical, douchy blog in it. At least the writers on City of Ate for the most part respond to their readers which is something you had not done for a long time. I hate to see anyone lose a gig but the more I think about it this is long over due. Can't believe you couldn't shoe horn in a "what the what" somewhere in the story. Sorry RW I'm gonna have to be a stranger. May your hair plugs be fruitful and multiply and may you never run out of Ed Hardy bedazzeled t-shirts.

Jay
Jay

You're kidding? You were full time? Really?

Ray Burn
Ray Burn

Damned economy. Great next-to-last article on Michael Young. He's my (Rangers) hero.

 
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