OPINION: Thank you, Buffalo sports fans

It's been an amazing ride, but after 33 years, the time has come to move on

Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) - From a very young age, I knew there was only one job I wanted. I wanted to work in sports broadcasting. Nothing else interested me.

In 1989, I got my first sports job at WJJL Radio in Niagara Falls. It has been quite a ride over the last 33 plus years, but it's time for this ride to come to an end. And so it shall.

March 3 will be my final day as a sports talk show host at WGR Sports Radio 550.

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There is no way I can cover the many ups-and-downs we have been through as Buffalo sports fans over those three-plus decades, but I'm glad we experienced it together.

I'm not a native Western New Yorker. I was born in Brooklyn and raised on Long Island. I first came to Buffalo in the fall of 1980 to attend Buffalo State College.

I remember listening to One-on-One sports on WBEN; watching TV greats like Van Miller and Rick Azar and reading the work of top notch journalists like Larry Felser. I wished and hoped that someday I could be part of the Buffalo sports media. I enjoyed my college years here so much that I spent the first five years after graduating trying to get back.

I enjoyed my college years here so much that I spent the first five years after graduating trying to get back.

I did radio work in Elmira, N.Y. and then Toledo, Ohio, doing everything but sports. I did some news, I was a traffic reporter, and even a country music disc jockey.

When I was hired by WJJL, I was excited to finally get my first chance to work in sports. I was absolutely thrilled to come back to Western New York.

I didn't know if I would spend the rest of my life here. I figured at some point, I would look to move on to a larger market. But I met and later married a Niagara Falls gal, started a family and made this my home.

I’m so thankful I did.

I've been around some amazing stories over the years. The Buffalo Bills' four-straight Super Bowl seasons, a Buffalo Sabres Stanley Cup Final appearance in 1999, NCAA Tournament berths for each of the Big 4 schools, Buffalo Bandits championships, and even a Buffalo Bisons championship.

There were some challenging times too. There was that 17-year Bills playoff drought, as well as the worst stretch in the history of the Sabres.

Every now and then, we would have a caller tell us how thankful they were we were helping them get through the bad times, but it worked both ways. All of you helped us along the way. It was like one big family coming together and being there for each other.

I've been very lucky to have worked alongside some wonderful people at WJJL, WBEN, Empire Sports Network and finally at WGR. I wish I could list everyone by name, but that isn't possible.

Let me just say, thank you.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to my many co-workers over the years. I've made some great, lifelong friendships, while getting a chance to do something I truly loved.

I would like to mention my co-host for the last 18 years at WGR, Jeremy White. That is the longest I worked with anyone by far!

Jeremy is super talented, extremely creative, and has a great feel for what topics will be of most interest to our listening audience. Now he did throw a shoe at me during a show one time, but I don't think he was trying to hit me on purpose.

I can't thank Jeremy enough for what he has done over the years for the morning show. Quite honestly, the poor guy has had to carry me the last couple of years.

Finally, I need to thank all of you. None of this would have been possible without listeners. I have loved the days we could celebrate a big win together, and I have needed your support on days we were dealing with a heartbreaking loss.

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I mentioned that sports broadcasting was the only job I ever wanted, but there is a part of me that wished I did something that made a difference in our community. Firefighters save people. Police protect people. Teachers educate and shape lives.

All I did was talk about sports for a living.

But I've come to realize that we were/are part of your break from the world. We hopefully provided some entertainment for you, and maybe made you laugh every now and then. If that was a way of making a difference in this community, then I'll go out with a big smile on my face.

Now I'll sit back with all of you and hope we can celebrate that first Bills Lombardi Trophy or Sabres Stanley Cup sometime soon.

To quote Supertramp: “Tried to see your point of view, hope your dreams will all come true.”

Photo credit Losi and Gangi
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