My Final Top 10 Observer-ations
Last week's cover. Irony is funny.
10. As of this morning, the Dallas Observer is out of the sports business, at least on a full-time basis. Though I'm not technically being fired ("laid off" is supposedly less damning), the paper and its owner, Village Voice Media, have decided to eliminate its full-time sportswriting position. It's called downsizing. And yes, it sucks. Sources close to me indicate my farewell column -- a staple of the paper since September 2005 -- will appear in this week's edition. I'll pause a second while some of you pick your jaws off the floor, and others organize a celebratory parade.
9. I didn't exactly see this coming.
Hard Impossible to envision going from emcee of Brew at the Zoo one week, to writing the paper's cover story the next week, to ... poof. But it's another sign of the terrible, terminal disease rotting newspapers to death. One minute your blog is a prototype; the next, the fat that must be trimmed.
8. I would like to sincerely thank VVM for a generous goodbye, and also offer a tip of the cap to my loyal readers and sharp-tongued commenters who both kept me on my toes and kicked me in the crotch. Now it can be told: Being a sportswriter, I always wear a cup. No hard feelings.
7. My first Observer column was about the Rangers. So was my last, a cover story fittingly adorned with the screaming headline "The End is Near!," a reference to the regular season's end and last week's apocalypse-themed Best of Dallas issue. Overall I wrote 310 ditties in the paper and won 13 national, state and local writing awards for stories like this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this.
6. Couple weeks ago we learned to live without Entourage on Sunday night, and last Friday Mike Modano began life without hockey. This morning I woke up -- for the first time since accepting a job on the staff of UT-Arlington's The Shorthorn in 1983 -- without a newspaper job. Unsettling, to say the least.
5. Ironic that the subject of my most popular Observer story ever is now my partner in another sports medium. Life = Fascinating.
4. How do I want this blog to be remembered? As an entertaining, informative, irritating lil' corner of the blogosphere where you could read breaking news on everything from the Rangers to Russ Martin to the Cowboys and criminal cornerbacks. Where I provided unique personal trials and triumphs. And where, most of all -- right or wrong -- I made you stop, if just for a moment, and look at sports 'n such from a different angle.
3. It's been a pleasure and honor to work for editors like Julie Lyons, Mark Donald and Joe Tone, with marketing director Jennifer Robinson and alongside staff writers Robert Wilonsky and Jim Schutze, who remain the heart and soul of the Observer. I'm confident that Unfair Park will hit the high notes of sports, that Schutze will continue giving 'em hell on all city fronts and that, as long as it is allowed to have a pulse, the paper will remain a relevant, raucous option to the rest of our area's mainstream bullshit.
2. After 2,245 blog items, 31,510 comments and almost 3.5 years, Sportatorium is kaput. And after a six-year run, so is my weekly space in the Observer. Yep, dead and gone just like that. This blog will sit void and vacant, not unlike the old rasslin' namesake joint that once bustled with alternative sports entertainment at the corner of Industrial and Cadiz but is these days just a razed lot of rubble and reminiscences. My first item read like this; my last ... like a bullet-point obit.
1. You can still hear me weekdays 2-7 p.m. on 105.3 The Fan, reach me at Richie.Whitt@CBSRadio.com and -- squinting into my crystal ball -- don't be surprised if a reincarnated Sportatorium and future Richie Whitt columns surface before the end of the year over here. Until then, this truly is Whitt's End. Don't be a stranger.
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