JUDD: Thank you, I've enjoyed the ride



Pioneer photo/Joe Judd

BIG RAPIDS — As weird as this is for me to write, the time has come for me to bid you all farewell.

After almost three years spent at the Pioneer, it is rather bittersweet to know that my ride here is just about to come to an end. 

When I was brought on to be a sports reporter back in August of 2019, the world was a vastly different place to the one that we’re all currently living in.

I think that’s the main reason why it kind of feels like much more time has passed since I arrived in Big Rapids for the first time. Everything has changed, for better or for worse, but mostly for the better, since my wife and I made our big move.

During this time, we welcomed a beautiful baby girl to the world and have bore witness to all of her early milestones; her first steps were taken and first words were spoken right here in Big Rapids, and we will always remember that.

This really is a special community filled with amazing people, and when you break it all down, it’s a community that’s made my time here more enjoyable and fulfilling, not just as a journalist, but as a husband and father, too.

Being a journalist can often be a thankless job; no one enters the field so they can receive heaps of rewards and unanimous praise.

I can honestly say, I’ve never once felt that way here, and it’s because of people like you, yes you — whomever is reading this right now — I’ve taken a tremendous amount of pride in being your eyes, ears and voice.

You’ve let me into your offices, homes, business, home businesses, gymnasiums, stadiums and press boxes and have had enough trust to step in front of my camera or let me press that little red button on my recorder. I will miss seeing all of the familiar faces inside the gyms of every school I walked into.

Also, I’d like to make it abundantly clear that I am not only speaking of Big Rapids; I am speaking to the fine folks from Reed City, Morley, Stanwood, Remus, Evart, LeRoy and every place in between.

I want to extend a sincere thank you to all area high school coaches in every sport, as well as every athletic director, player, trainer, parent and grandparent. Thank you for answering my phone calls and putting up with my loaded questions; thank you for letting me spotlight so many amazing student-athletes and tell their stories.

A special thank you John Raffel for all of the guidance you’ve given me during our two and-a-half years together at the sports desk. From day one, you took me under your wing and showed me the way; for that, I will always be thankful for you.

Of course, your desk always had a little more clutter on it than mine. 

“And one more special message to go, and then I’m done and I can go home.” — Kurt Donald Cobain.