I’m not big into the mushy, treacly stuff. But now it’s time to say goodbye, and goodbye is what I must say.
I’m heading up the road from here to Tallahassee, where my very smart and talented wife is now a judicial clerk for the 1st District Court of Appeal. (How’s that for a combo? She studies case law, while I study injury lists for my fantasy football team.)
It’s at this time where most in my position get all teary-eyed and sentimental. But if I’m going out, I’m going out with a smile.
I’ll be expecting a statue erected in my honor any time now.
Why, you ask? Exactly how many state football titles were won in Collier County before my arrival as a high school writer? What about basketball titles, boys or girls? None and none.
After I arrived? Two football, one girls basketball. That’s on top of the five state boys tennis titles, one state girls tennis title, two state softball titles, seven individual state wrestling titles and 10 individual state track and field titles.
Heck, you won’t even miss my writing. You’ll miss the fact that I’m the luckiest lucky charm you’ve ever seen.
So haul in some marble, grab a chisel and shape away.
(So how should I pose? Like Napoleon or Admiral Lord Nelson in Trafalgar Square?)
“But Derek,” you may ask, “shouldn’t the look of joy on the faces of those kids be enough?”
I won’t lie. That’s a satisfying thing to see, that unbridled euphoria of ultimate accomplishment. Have you ever been up close to the scene in the seconds following a state championship win? It’s an amazing outpouring of raw emotion.
Kids’ and coaches’ spirits float among the clouds. They jump around laughing, crying. Some stare at each other in silent shock, as if asking each other telepathically, “Did that really just happen?” It’s something that both the superstar and the third-stringer can cherish forever.
It’s a kick to watch, but I still want my statue. A gaudy monument to my mojo. A rock-solid celebration of my luck-engorged aura.
(Maybe just a marble bust somewhere in a well-populated part of town. Yeah, that might be the ticket.)
OK, so if I can’t get a statue, can I maybe get a nice oil-on-canvas portrait? How about a sturdy plaque somewhere? Or maybe a certificate?
Could someone at least carve my name into a tree with a penknife or something?
Well, maybe I could get by with a few thank yous. And I’ve gotten a lot of those, and I thank you, too.
Thanks for giving me a front-row seat to your triumphs.
Thanks for helping me out in the times when I needed it.
Thanks for the fun stories, the touching stories and the important stories. And thanks for letting me give you a few laughs. Hopefully you found a few in the last few minutes.
There have been a lot of good times. And you never know, but there might be some more in the future. But for now, I have to ride off into the sunset. Take care and good luck.
(But seriously, if anyone wants to get behind the whole statue thing, I can send photos. You know my right side is my best side.)
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You now can e-mail Derek Redd at firstname.lastname@example.org.