Here, there and back again

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, June 9, 2010

During college, I always told myself I would never move back to Albert Lea. Even if I received a job offer there and nowhere else, I would never back move home, because if I did, I thought, I would never leave.

I belonged in Minneapolis with an apartment next to Target Field. Maybe I could even work for the Twins, because obviously I knew just as much about baseball as Bill Smith, but after I graduated from Luther College this spring, I did what most college grads these days find as inevitable. Now, as Sports Editor of the Albert Lea Tribune, I plan on sticking around for a while, and I no longer fear a career and life in my hometown.

My dream during college was, and still is, to become a beat writer for a professional baseball team. During my junior year I began corresponding via e-mail with Joe Christensen, the Twins beat writer for the Star Tribune, asking for career advice, hoping his wisdom would somehow propel me right out of Decorah, Iowa, into a big city for a job I probably wasn’t qualified for. Neither the Star Tribune nor the Pioneer Press came knocking at my door but I’m glad they didn’t, because before I ever get to that stage I need to gain the perspective I feel I can only get in a place like southern Minnesota.

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During the first two weeks of my job I’ve already learned more about the people of Albert Lea and the surrounding area than I had in my 19 years prior to graduating from high school.

I’ve received unbelievably warm receptions from Albert Lea coaches and parents, and those I used to address as Mr. and Mrs. have now become close and eager colleagues. I’ve witnessed the pride smaller communities around Albert Lea have for their sports teams, the hard work the Lake Mills Athletic Director has done to give his student-athletes outstanding facilities and how one area baseball coach thanks me every time I cover one of his team’s games. These are connections I never would have made had I gotten that apartment next to Target Field.

As a former Tiger basketball and tennis player, I appreciate what this community has done for me. Now, as I move back home, I’m looking to give back. I know this job won’t be easy and I won’t be able to cover each and every athlete and team as much as someone will want me to, but I’m always open to constructive criticism and new ideas and can be reached at 507-379-3437.