Greetings from West Des Moines, Iowa, PF Chang’s specifically where I’ll share my thoughts in a tighter-than-usual race against my deadline.

December and late March are my pruning seasons for different green things in my yard. Not sure if those are the ideal times to prune, but they’re convenient from me.

I’ll be doing a bit of pruning this week upon return from a week-long business trip I completed Friday afternoon.

I want to talk about my week and the direction I’m heading. There is some pruning going on aside from the flora on my modest property.

I finished a business trip to Omaha, Nebraska this week drinking from the fire hose of reports, controls, and other forms of tribal knowledge essential for success in a very large public company. Its’ going to be an exciting opportunity… relatively speaking… because explaining my vocation works better than Ambien for most listeners.

While I’ll be part of a very large organization, but the hours will probably be – outside of the monthly reporting cycle – lighter than they have over the past six years among smaller companies thanks to a combination of tools they have in place to mine and analyze a lot of data, and spending more time on my own trying to work smarter.

While there is an increased amount of periodic free time once I settle in, you’ve probably already noticed my visible absence from Times-Union game coverage since football season ended for the area’s schools.

Excuse me for a few seconds.

Right this moment a fortune cookie I opened read, “A new creative project will lead to great wealth.”

None of my creative endeavors are likely to lead me to great monetary wealth, but I might enjoy a wealth of fun while I perform them instead.

I digress.

I appreciate the Times-Union’s support of my step back while still supporting the creative areas I enjoy most.

I’ll continue to share my weekly thoughts, sports predictions, and the occasional hot take in each edition of the Times-Union Weekender.

I’ll also contribute to future previews (e.g., sectional tabloids, next year’s grid and hoops preseason write-ups), and long- and short-form features.

I feel the extra time devoted to some personal and professional sharpening, sprinkled with increased reading, will make me happier about the creative work I’ll continue to do.

My sports tree, at one time, had branches of broadcasting, public address, and freelance sports writing game coverage, a weekly column, and a handful of features. I felt like there were some branches of this tree where I want to focus my energy.

Simply put, as I told someone recently, I am “pruning my sports tree.”

Folks, if I were a full-time journalist I’d still be “doing it all” and craving more because it would be part of the career’s inherent workload.

But I’m not. I’m a grinder like almost all of you are.

I believe the quality of my features and columns might improve considerably with less time during the week and weekend devoted to game coverage.

I also want to be part of the Tiger athletics’ brand focused on an optimal experience for home and visiting fans attending Tiger sports, so I’ll continue to be a public address announcer among the Warsaw sports I currently cover.

I’ve been very transparent in recent months regarding my preference toward public address among my avocational roles. I enjoy it immensely.

I have no idea who might be among fans and officials attending events I cover, so I approach the mic as if someone from the IHSAA, or others in organizations who need an energetic-but-welcoming announcer might like what they hear when they cover their event.

It’s working well for me. I get asked to pinch-hit for vacationers, and to provide an efficient, professional experience at neutral site events.

Tiger sports are my favorite events to cover, of course.

I am greatly thankful to Amy Burgh for getting my foot in the high school level PA door. Amy, a keystone among the hard-working Warsaw athletic department team, heard me do PA at an Edgewood Middle School football game when her son, Noah, was still donning the helmet and pads.

She asked me – in August 2014 – if I could cover the two sub-varsity football squads in exchange for Warsaw Tiger swag, and other perquisites.

Hell yes!

So here I (still) am, and after seven seasons of sub-varsity football I earned the privilege of being the voice of Warsaw Tiger varsity football and soccer in 2021 along with Tiger wrestling and softball.

I’ll be around a long time, folks. I don’t like alligators and other creatures in Florida who eagerly await the unwitting escape to the yard of any of my cats for some fresh, furry nosh. I’ll pass on hurricanes, too.

While I’ve used a lot of copy space to discuss the joys of PA announcing this morning, I’ll leave you echoing my belief a few paragraphs ago that the time now afforded me will improve the selection and quality of feature stories and columns.

Pruning season has begun.