This will be my last column for the VIEW Newspapers. As you read this, my wife and I are motoring cross-country to California, where we plan to spend the rest of our lives amid palm trees and endless summer.
It’s been a long-time goal of ours to get away from winter permanently, and the original plan was Florida. But then our older daughter moved to southern California, and when she announced this year she is expecting our first grandchild, the destination changed and the plan accelerated.
The decision did not come without reservations. We are well-aware of the traffic nightmares in the Los Angeles metropolis, having already lived there. The cost of living is high, driven by exorbitant housing costs. Leaving our comfort zone is not easy after 33 years in Michigan. And we are leaving behind another daughter. Ouch.
But we keep in mind that the “comfort zone” is below freezing 4-5 months of the year, and that’s the main factor in the “go” column.
Another is my wife’s family, all of whom live in California. I also have a lifelong best friend out there, who left Michigan when we were in our 20s.
Sports-wise, I look forward to hearing some of the final ballgames that Vin Scully will broadcast for the L.A. Dodgers. I plan to see the Tigers play at Angel Stadium, maybe take in a Red Wings game against the Ducks. I’d love to catch a Notre Dame-USC battle at the Coliseum. Maybe I’ll even take up surfing.
The flip side is leaving behind our Michigan friends and relatives, not to mention the many co-workers, athletes, coaches, school officials, referees and other sports figures I have had the privilege to know in my career here. It has truly been a dream job covering the talented athletes and teams I’ve seen over the last 31 years in this area.
Thank you to the View Newspaper Group for allowing me to continue that dream over the past six years. I’ve been around, and these papers cover local news and sports as thoroughly as any I’ve seen, and better than some. There are talented, devoted, hard-working people in this office every day. You’re lucky to have them.
I know I will continue to monitor the local sports scene from 2,300 miles away. I have to know if Lapeer can continue its amazing football success as a unified school, and if North Branch volleyball can get back to the state finals? Will Grand Blanc be able to produce another Gatorade Athlete of the Year and just how far will the Goodrich girls’ basketball team advance in the upcoming winter season? How will all those new coaches fare in their first year on the job?
You just don’t let go of those ties when you cross the state line. To paraphrase an old cliché, you can take the sports writer out of Michigan, but you can’t take Michigan out of the sports writer.
I’ll be watching.
As of this week, Dan Nilsen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.