Ed Puskas: It’s time to say goodbye

“You know it’s really a shame when you’ve got to let go of all the things you love.

“Like a fighter, he really bleeds when he must hang up his gloves.

“No, I’m not a rock and I can feel it now, but for a moment I’d like to forget that my heart is sinking like a sunset.”

— Tom Cochrane

So this is it. The end of the line for us at 107 Vindicator Square, where I’ve spent the last seven years doing the only thing I really know how to do.

Even as those words appear on my screen, the reality they represent has yet to hit me.

I suspect that kick in the gut will come today, probably around noon or 1 p.m. That’s when I generally begin preparing to head to downtown Youngstown to begin work on the Sunday edition of The Vindicator.

That won’t happen today and I’m really not sure what will occur in its place. The possibilities are endless — unlike, it seems — the existence of the daily newspaper in American life.

Maybe I’ll watch Ohio State’s opener against Florida Atlantic. Maybe I’ll take in a small-college game somewhere. What I should do is throw myself into finding what’s next. Most of us here have been trying to do that. I’m thrilled for my friends at The Vindicator who will move seamlessly into that next job.

Others are still looking, because it’s difficult to perform two full-time jobs at the same. One was the job we had — suddenly temporarily as of June 28 — and the other full-time job was finding the next full-time job. I’ve been better at the former than the latter. It’s just how I’ve always been wired.

But goodbye to all that.

I want to use the remaining space to thank everyone I’ve had the pleasure to cover during 24 years in the Mahoning Valley, including the last seven here in Youngstown.

I can’t begin to mention all the names, but if our paths crossed — even for a brief moment — rest assured you’ve been in my thoughts lately.

The same is true of all the terrific people I’ve been blessed call colleagues. You’re more than that, of course. Friends and family are more like it, especially Tom Williams, Jenn Schatzel, Jeremy Harper, Shirley Brown, Brian Dzenis, Dan Hiner and Codie Talley. And others — Joe Scalzo, John Bassetti, Matt Peaslee, Ryan Buck, Kevin Connelly, Curtis Pulliam, Charles Grove, Bill Sullivan, Alexis Bartolomucci, Brianna Jukes, Katie Montgomery, Chez Allison and Brooke Meenachan — who previously moved on to other things.

I need to also thank Greg Gulas, Mike McLain, Steve Ruman, Bob Ettinger and Eric Fortune, who have been dedicated correspondents for us over the years.

And finally, my thanks and appreciation to editor Todd Franko and managing editor Mark Sweetwood, general manager Mark Brown and publisher Betty Jagnow for the chance to be sports editor in the best sports town in America.

It hasn’t always been easy with the difficulties inherent in our business in recent years. We haven’t always reacted to those challenges with as much grace as we’d have liked, but happens with friends and families.

But we stuck together through it all. There has been no finer example of that than the stoic professionalism I witnessed as we raced toward that final deadline.

Mission accomplished. Now it’s time to hang up those gloves until next time.

Write Ed Puskas at edpuskas67@gmail.com.