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A hell of a ride


Well, I guess you can tell this hasn’t been much of a blog for a while. In a few days or weeks, as is my understanding, it likely will cease to exist all together. The paper is changing its philosophy and, apparently, neither the Giants nor I fit into it.

Today is my last day at The Journal News. They’re laying off a whole bunch of us, and I’m headed for Chapter 2 of my life after 33 years here. It’s a bit sad, but I’m actually excited to see what the next step brings. And I’ll leave here not with bitterness, but with some good feelings about the people who took the time to read and write their feelings in this blog and read my newspaper articles through the decades.

You know, there’s a saying that goes “It’s not about the destination. It’s about the ride.” Well, now I see the truth in it. Nobody who works in the newspapers ever wants to get to this place. But economics and other factors have led us there. All that remains are the memories. And for me, after 20 years on the Giants, I have plenty of great ones — of the people, the players, the stories. Hey, my last game — before illness cost me the 2008 season — was the greatest Super Bowl ever played. Hard to top that.

But others came close, and they weren’t all with the Giants. Rodney and Scooter McCray and the rest of the 1977-78 Mount Vernon basketball team, the greatest of a golden era of Westchester hoops; Pleasantville-Dobbs Ferry Class C sectional football in the snow; the late Rodney Abrams of Woodlands High crying his eyes out under the County Center stands after a sectional upset; Doc Gooden’s no-hitter — ON DEADLINE, for God’s sake!

Lawrence Taylor chasing quarterbacks and, yeah, putting his hand around my throat. Not my proudest moment, but a moment nonetheless.

One flashback in particular sticks with me today. It was some time in the late ’70s, and Ardsley had just won the State Class C baseball championship. The team had flooded the field, hugging, rubbing heads, slapping butts. But there in the dugout sat the winning pitcher, all alone, tears running down the little junkballer’s face. For the life of me, I can’t remember his name.

I asked him what was the matter.

“I don’t want to take it off,” he said. “The uniform. I’m not going to play in college, so this is it. This is the end for me. And I don’t want to take it off.”

Now I know the feeling. I don’t want to take this one off, either. But that’s life. Things end, other things begin. And something tells me I’m going to be around for a while longer, just doing something different for someone else. We’ll see.

In the meantime, I have the memories. Thirty-three years of doing what I loved, 20 years of covering a team I loved covering every moment, even during the bad ones. Loads of colleagues, who I’d prefer to call friends.

Hell of a ride, I’d say.

Thanks, guys.


Posted by Ernie Palladino on Wednesday, August 26th, 2009 at 11:48 am |