Monday, March 17, 2014
Solace on St Patrick's Day
Growing up less than well off in a Irish Catholic single-parent household in Amherst, you couldn't help but notably mark St Patrick's Day. To my mother it was perhaps more important than Christmas or Easter -- two pretty sacred days for Catholics.
So I've always tried to use it in a positive way. Seven years ago today I started this blog, now fast approaching one million unique visitors. Two years ago I gave up drinking, and today I don't miss it a bit.
From 1992 through 2001, March 17 was the start date of training for the bike race up Mt Washington, so from St Patrick's day until the end of August a day would not go by -- no matter the weather -- without an hour training in the saddle.
At the impressionable age of 17 -- in the summer of 1972 -- in fell in love with both karate and journalism. For you non history majors that was the beginning of Watergate, where dogged determination by two reporters over a (too) long time period led to the downfall of the most powerful man on earth.
I founded my karate school in 1982 to distract myself from not accomplishing a goal I had set at age 17: Becoming the #1 ranked sport karate player in the nation. But I did manage to come in at #3 that year.
Since then, two hip and one knee replacement later, my karate skills are not nearly what they were at peak when for a brief moment I was perhaps unbeatable. But my journalism skills are better today than at any point in the past, partially because I accepted early on the awesome power of the Internet.
For the 1982 grand opening of the Karate Health Fitness Center and the following two years, I advertised in the weekly paper I had grown up reading, The Amherst Record. In fact my father and his father before him had advertised the Kelley Plumbing & Heating business in the paper as well.
It was one of those traditional home town weeklies where you read about the people you would see in the downtown on any given day.
The Amherst Record folded in 1984 because of normal business competition not the upheaval cause by the Internet, which now threatens the entire print industry.
So why bring back the Amherst Record in digital form? Because the more people shining a light on government, business and education the better -- especially in Amherst, where education is king. And I have over 30 years of institutional memory to guide my spotlight.
I promise to pursue important stories with the same zeal and boundless determination I demonstrated in the karate ring, or while running a small business for almost 30 years.
Please join me in that quest: