About 4½ years ago, I told readers of this column I was America’s oldest rookie sports reporter. As of about a week ago, I claimed the title of America’s oldest rookie sports editor.

It was an honor then, and greater still today.

I said then that I’m a late bloomer. I married (for the first and only time) at 38, I have high school classmates with grandchildren about the same age as my kids; I graduated from college at 46, and I have the job I aspired to in high school about three weeks shy of my 57th birthday.

So yeah, I’m tardy to the party!

There are advantages to this disposition. One is I’m old enough to realize experience is expensive; it costs somebody something usually greater than money. So I’m soliciting and getting advice from people who have been in my spot. It’s up to me to decide how to use other people’s experience, but I don’t have to repeat their struggles.

Another advantage is, I’m fairly aware of my strengths and weaknesses. I’m not necessarily a neat person (a statement that would have my youngest son rolling his eyes so far back in his head, it looks painful). But I love to get things done and off my list of things to do.

And normally, there’s at least one list like that on my desk. I can tell you having more than one things-to-do list is not an asset.

But I’m writing my first column back to tell readers I may make some jokes, but I take the actions of student-athletes seriously. I believe there are still people out there collecting newspaper clippings and scrapbooking them for reference later in life. It humbles me to know someone may read what I wrote 30, 40 or even 50 years from now.

And later, those words will be read over a kitchen table or in a living room. I’m also fully aware where many, if not most, newspapers are read. I know I have my designated reading time, and yes, I’m multi-tasking.

If you don’t understand what I’m dancing around here, please ask someone.

See??Joking!

There is a difference in making light of something and taking something lightly. Like most things in life, I’m not taking my new position and its responsibilities lightly.

Even as the oldest sports journalism rookie, perhaps in the recorded history of the medium, I will adapt to the changing journalism environment.

Life is about changes; sometimes you make them, sometimes they make you. I’ve even make some personal changes some of you have noticed. There isn’t much in my adult life that hasn’t changed at least a little. About the time I start to think otherwise, I watch a 1980s movie with my wife and kids, and that thought process (along with a big chunk of self-respect) vanishes.

There’s been plenty of changes in the journalism industry in general, and the Times-Union is no stranger to that situation. People I care about have had to move on with their professional lives. That isn’t a good feeling.

Rest assured, I’m going to do everything I know to do, and learn the rest, to help my little corner of the reporting world not just survive, but thrive. Frankly, I’ve had opportunity to get out, and if I didn’t believe in what I was doing, I would have been gone a while ago.

I can say I love what I do more than any other job I’ve had, and I’ve got a long list of things I’ve been paid to do. (Some were dares, but that might be another column for a rainy local sports day.)

To serve as the sports editor of the Times-Union is a privilege. I will do my best every day to provide an entertaining, engaging and maybe even a bit interactive sports section.

That’s my promise to you.

So, this old dog has learned a lot of tricks, but playin’ dead isn’t one of them. Not by a long shot. If I do this right, this will be the most rewarding career move I’ve made. And if I don’t, someone else will be introducing themselves to you.

See you at the game, or the meet or out and about!