The Short Game: A Journey All Too Short


Mike Carlson, Spear Contributor

Well, now we are here. The end of road. The final seconds. The last out. This, for all intents and purposes, is the end of “The Short Game.” Of course, I may start this little phenom back up in college, but that is not a certainty in the slightest and way too far into the future for me to see.  I can barely see over people during passing period, so what makes you think I have even the tiniest clue as to what lies ahead?

So, with that in mind, let’s end this the right way. Let’s retire “The Short Game” the way it was always meant to be retired. No, this is not in a fiery blaze of Raiders, Johnny Manziel, and A-Rod jokes. Although, that would be just as fitting.

Rather, it is by honoring the people who made this journey a reality. Because, let’s face it, without these people, I’m just another talking head. This problem is further compounded by the fact that I’m remarkably tiny and easily overlooked.

When I first started this odyssey into the realm of sports, I didn’t know what to expect. But, as coaching makes a difference in sports, the very same thing can happen in the oh-so-tough art of relentlessly criticizing NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. And by “oh-so-tough” I mean an art form which makes shooting fish in a barrel look like the ACT.

This, however, is not the point. The point is that I’m forever in debt to Mr. Anderson for allowing me a place to write and for continuously encouraging me to keep writing. He laughed at my first column and I’ll never forget how great that made me feel. It made me want to create that feeling in everyone else. Most of all, it gave me purpose. I’m grateful for the push Mr. Anderson gave me and for giving me purpose as a writer.

Yet still, the team is not complete. For every average quarterback and great coaching duo, there is stellar supporting cast to make him look good (I’m looking at you here Eli Manning). For that talented supporting cast, I have my dad to thank. This past year, instead of spending our time having a catch in the backyard or tossing a football, we bonded over writing a sports column. And, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a bond stronger than stickum.

I’d bounce topic ideas off him and he would make sure my writing is understandable. He also had a hand in some jokes here-and-there, but I’ll go on the record in saying that the funny one’s were my doing.

There always seems to be an amazing father behind every sports success, and I can credit my success to mine. Thanks pops. No analogy can equate how much your help meant to me.

Finally, no team is complete without a fan base. So, my biggest thank you and recognition goes to my readers. You have and will always be the heart and soul of every column.

I was truly spoiled with my audience. Whether it was Mr. Meyer saying he enjoyed my jab at Johnny Manziel or just the simple gesture of putting #TheShortGame on a social media post, it was all truly humbling stuff. I get choked up just thinking about it.

So, with all of that in mind, I’d like to formally say that it has been an honor to be your columnist. I was lucky to even be put in this position to begin with and I’m lucky to be leaving this position with so much more than I bargained for.

To draw from Lou Gehrig, “I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”

Actually, lucky doesn’t even begin to describe it, pal.