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Carter's 2 Cents: Oh, so grateful for the journey

After spending the last few days talking to coaches about our South Central Iowa Athletes of the Year, I heard quite a bit of the phrase, 'It’s hard to find words,' to describe what an athlete meant to a school.

Now that I work my final days as the sports editor of the News Advertiser, Osceola Sentinel-Tribune, Adair County Free Press and Fontanelle Observer, I too am struggling to find an adequate way to summarize my thoughts about my time living in Creston.

And, I write for a living.

For those of you that aren’t on Twitter or haven’t heard yet, I will be departing for Carson City, Nevada, next week to take over as the sports director for the Nevada Appeal and a few other weekly newspapers. My official last day at the paper will be Friday.

People still ask me where I’m from and despite bouncing around a bit in the last seven or so years, over the past few, it has become less odd to explain.

Change is never easy and the four of us – my mom, dad, sister and I – went through a lot of it while I was in college.

Ultimately, a family that started under one roof in Danville, California, has spread – and is about to continue spreading – to be under four roofs all across the United States.

The thing is, I don’t think the four of us have been closer as a family. A large part of that is why I’ve enjoyed my time in Creston so much.

Getting out to Iowa

In the months prior to heading to this small Iowa town I’d call home for the next 2 1/2 years, I was kind of lost.

After being convinced I knew what I wanted for a career since I was pretty young, I left college with the first true doubts about if sports journalism/reporting was truly what I was looking for.

My college roommate and previous sports editor, Kaleb Carter, spent many nights on the phone with me trying to convince me to come out to Creston, or at the very least to visit.

When I finally did, I met former managing editor Scott Vicker, which meant one more person who was lighting up my phone and nudging me to take a leap of faith.

Then one Wednesday night in April I got a phone call from the two of them and Creston native Bryant McCabe for a ‘round table discussion’ where they insisted they would answer all my questions and remove all doubts about coming to southwest Iowa.

McCabe pitched that he was going to buy a shuffleboard table and the three of them needed a fourth person, for which I was their guy.

(I’m still waiting for him to buy it.)

Next thing I knew, I was moving my belongings into Vicker’s garage while I looked for a place to live in Creston.

After nearly 2.5 years, I don’t have enough thank yous for those three. I owe them and that way-too-late Wednesday night phone call too much and have made two more truly great friends because of it.

Thanks to them, I took a job at the newspaper and I got to fully experience the community of Creston and all of the surrounding towns in this amazing part of the world.

I have met so many wonderful people I know that I can continue to call friends.

Kaleb, Scott and Larry Peterson have helped build me into the writer I am and all taught me valuable lessons along the way.

I have connected with so many amazing media members and built bonds that will continue to grow not only in the confines of Twitter, but hopefully in the world.

To everyone in the News Advertiser office, it has truly been special working with all of you. I’ve built so many great relationships and so many of them are going to be hard to replace. I’ll be lucky if I can find anything remotely close to the chats with the CNA advertising department.

I really would name everyone if I could, but I’d need more than a few pages to do so.

Building a base

I learned who I was as a growing storyteller while in Iowa and the confidence that comes with making the most of every day-to-day interaction.

What I’ve learned throughout my time in southern Iowa isn’t quantifiable in a column – though I suppose I have just tried.

A big part of why I think my family is closer than ever, even with the geographical distance, is because all of the experiences we can share with each other are truly second to none.

We are all still learning and adapting to the world and that creates a bond between us, which excites me, even if we’re not all in the same place.

So much of what I’ve learned while in Iowa is irreplaceable and for that I’ll be forever grateful of this area and all the people I have met.

To all the athletes and coaches, thank you for putting up with me sticking a handheld microphone in your face after tough losses and moments of pure joy.

I know and understand the spectrum of emotions involved in all of it and I thank you for letting me tell your stories. I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading them and I implore you to continue supporting local news as the industry trends further away from it.

It’s bittersweet that my time here is coming to an end, but I will be forever grateful to have lived in southwest Iowa and for everyone allowing me to get my career started here.

Thank you for everything.

• • •

Contact the writer:

Twitter: @CarterEckl


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