Writer’s Block: Starting a new chapter of life and sports stories

Ever since high school, I have loved to run.

Patrick Slack
Patrick Slack

Well, I have loved to plan to run.

I sign online, print off a training plan and envision myself shattering my personal record.

Then race day comes.

I will get to the starting line, retie my shoes one last time and feel the last-second excitement and anticipation run through me.

A minute later, I wonder what in the world I have gotten myself into.

That has pretty much been the story of my summer and I imagine the way most people feel when encountering big life changes. Eager, anxious, prepared, overwhelmed – repeat – until the initial doubt quickly subsides and the race becomes routine.

Which leads me to my arrival here at ABC Newspapers.

Two weeks ago, my wife, two young kids and I packed up our house in Ely and moved down to the Twin Cities for the next chapter in our lives.

My wife had landed a job in Minneapolis, but less than a week before the big journey south, I was still a sports reporting free agent. Fortunately, past connections helped lead me here to become the new ABC Newspapers sports reporter, where I have very happily, and anxiously, started working this week.

My earliest memories typically lead back to sports. I grew up on a farm in Belle Plaine, and every morning I’d run the length of our country driveway to the mailbox, open up the sports section and ask my mom what certain words were.

I’d spend hours outside playing various sports depending on the time of year, imagining myself as certain heroes and narrating my incredible achievements. In reality, I was becoming a writer.

I have three siblings who all went to Augsburg. Being a rebel, I ended up at St. Olaf.

During my time there I studied English and served as the college newspaper’s sports editor for two years. In between I starred on the St. Olaf intramural circuit. I have participant ribbons to prove it.

After graduating, I took a job at the Morrison County Record in Little Falls, covering six schools for almost four years. It was a wonderful experience where I was able to cover a few state championships, more than a few close calls and a wide variety of stories of triumph and heartbreak on and off the playing field.

At the end of 2014, my wife got a job in Ely, so we made the trek north. Way north.

I made the transition to a full-time stay-at-home dad, writing for two area newspapers while enjoying life in the North Woods. When an opportunity arose this summer to move back closer to family, though, we jumped at it.

Now we have two young boys, almost 4 and 2, with a third due in November. Above all else I want them to be happy … but I wouldn’t mind if what makes them happy is becoming a professional athlete and realizing they couldn’t have done it without me. (If you’re reading this in a few years, kids, I’m just joking. For the most part.)

A little more about me:

I love bad puns, and try to work them into my writing as much as possible, although they are typically reserved for cringe-worthy status updates.

I’m a diehard local sports fan, especially the Twins. I loved to go to games with my parents in the mid-90s growing up in the near-empty Metrodome and gobbling up batting practice home run balls.

I don’t consider myself that competitive. Except when it comes to family game night. And Wii Tennis. And Sudoku showdowns. OK, I’m a little competitive.

That’s my story. I can’t wait to begin telling some of yours.

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