It's your story. I'm the one lucky enough to tell it.
Quincy Notre Dame boys basketball coach Kevin Meyer asked me earlier this winter to speak to his team and discuss the relationship between local teams and the media and offer any advice to help 15-, 16- and 17-year-old student-athletes get comfortable receiving the attention and scrutiny that comes with it.
My parting shot was to remind the Raiders every story being told is their story, no matter which platform it appears -- newspaper, TV, radio, Twitter, blog, etc.
And I told them I feel extremely fortunate to tell all the stories I have the past 20 years.
I celebrate my 20th anniversary at The Herald-Whig this week. Milestones tend to make you reflect, so I began thinking back on what my favorite stories have been. The longer I thought about it, the more I realized it's never one story that stands out.
It's the collection of stories that matter, because everyone has a story.
For some, it's an on-going story that continues to write and re-write itself.
For example, my coverage of Luke Guthrie's golf career spans nearly the entire last two decades. I've watched him hit countless shots, win numerous events and rise from junior standout to PGA Tour pro. The conversations we've had along the way tell his story more than the swing, and they will be how we tell his story further as he works to make it back to the PGA Tour.
The same goes for the evolution of Evan McGaughey. A small-town kid blessed with talent, athleticism and size, he battled through injury to fulfill his promise and is now playing professional basketball in Europe. His story isn't over, and only he can write what happens next by determining where his next contract takes him.
There have been other stories with layers, like Josh Rabe going from All-American outfielder to Minnesota Twins rookie to a return home as the Quincy University baseball coach. That story keeps getting better as the Hawks keep winning conference titles and making NCAA Tournament appearances.
For every new chapter that adds to someone's legacy, another athlete is writing their own story without the biggest headline -- but a tale means just as much.
It could be a last-second shot or a walk-off hit. It might be the only touchdown of their career, the only goal they've ever scored or the only at-bat they've ever had.
It might be one minute on the court that is the culmination of thousands of minutes of rehabilitation and countless more tears. It might be the chance to tell a dear friend goodbye for the final time.
Not every story ends the way you want, either. Some end in disappointment. Some end in tragedy. Some end sooner than they should.
What the last 20 years has taught me is every story matters to someone somewhere. Why? Because it is their story. Luckily, you've allowed me to tell those stories for the last 20 years.
Thankfully, there are more stories to tell the next 20 years, too.