I politely declined the beverage, but was kind of forced to tag along to the one and only coffee chain in our surburbia.
A few minutes in they told me that my career as a sports writer was officially over. A few weeks later, I was moved from my high school sports beat to the receptionist's desk to greet customers and answer phones. I also would have to cover local crime. After 24 years as a prep writer, I became a perp writer.
What many of my fellow journalists suspected but didn't quite know for sure then, was that I was merely a shuffled chair on the deck of the Titanic. A mere two years later, the veritable Times-Picayune cut loose 200 of its employees and cut its publication from seven days to three. Rumor has it that another major blood-letting of staff is soon forthcoming.
After I was officially dumped into the sea in September of 2012, I tried to reinvent myself. First I became a full-time caretaker to a cantankerous mother-in-law who was forced to move in with us just days into my forced "retirement." But I also continued to be a writer. I fired up this blog with stories and anecdotes as a Mom Blogger. And I offered my services to all comers as a freelance sports writer.
And it's been pretty cool. Being a freelancer gives me the freedom to say, "No." Then again, sometimes being a freelancer is free -- as in no paychecks.
But as of tomorrow, I'll be something else too. I start a new job at the local library as a circulation assistant, where I'll be checking out books and helping customersGoogle and shushing those who get too excited. And I'm very excited about the new opportunity.
But I also feel a little twinge in my heart. Does this mean that today is my last day as a sports writer?
I have to admit, I am imagining a life away from un-air conditioned press boxes and stadium stairs and coaches who don't return phone calls and smelly football players. It's rather nice to picture a nice, cool, quiet library with endless books at my fingertips.
But when I do, I feel a hole in my stomach -- and in my heart. Because, that's who I am. That's what I am. A writer. A sports writer. That's what I'm good at -- well, besides parallel parking. It's all I've ever wanted to do. It's pretty much all I've done for nearly three decades.
I posted the question earlier today on my Facebook page -- "Is this my last day as a sports writer?"
Many of my friends and followers answered, "No," along with offering some nice pats on my hiney.
"You'll always be a sports writer," they told me. "You'll just be doing something else."
Maybe I can call myself a "Sportsbrarian." That has a certain ring to it.