When I was hired on the sports copy desk of The Courier-Journal four years ago, I was moving into a world that was completely foreign to me. I never really followed sports, and I told the sports editor that before I went up for the interview. But they were willing to take a chance, and I had decided that I wanted to move from reporting to copy editing. This was a great chance to jump from a pretty small paper (The Daily News in Bowling Green, Ky., circulation about 23,000) to a big one where I could learn a ton. (The C-J's circulation was in the 190,000 range when I was hired, I think.) And I did. The sports desk at the C-J was filled with really smart people who taught me a lot, both directly and indirectly. I learned a lot just listening to other people talk about what they were doing. The only thing they didn't teach me was to be more of a sports fan. (Though I did get to like horse racing.) But no one ever held that against me. And it prepared me to take on this new challenge in Boston.

More than just learning though, I made friends at the C-J who I hope I will have for the rest of my life, both on the sports desk and out in the news department. When you work in such a small group (less that a dozen on the sports desk when I left) under a lot of stress during weird hours and days, one of two things can happen, I think. You either get to be good friends or you get to hate everyone around you.

I made good friends.

Thanks to everyone at the C-J who helped me, and thanks for your friendship.

*Sláinte is the traditional Irish toast. It translates literally as "health."