Fresh starts

Everything that has a beginning has an end. Beginnings are usually laced with excitement and anticipation. Endings are often sad. This one isn’t, but it’s bittersweet.

I’ve had the privilege of writing about the Broncos since the lost days of On the Bus at the Denver Post. I learned a great deal about the game from some of the writers at MHR. That was an earlier incarnation of that site and I wrote there for some time. Eventually, TJ, Doug, and I felt a kinship for a different kind of option.

And IAOFM.com was born.

I’ve had a wonderful ride. At this point, my disabilities are mostly manageable. But the nerves in my neck are being slowly squeezed by the body’s reaction to my own old injuries, forming calcium deposits. The openings through which they emerge from the spine are getting smaller. Writing aggravates that. The surgeries are a hit-or-miss far last resort. Not much else can be done. That doesn’t leave room for many options. I use a dictation program, but it’s not set up to effectively do all the research and archiving that makes my form of writing possible. It’s time for me to deal with that.

Ted, TJ, and Doug have been wonderful partners. I enjoyed reading their material as much as anyone did. Doug’s Lard has been constantly imitated and never duplicated. It will remain iconic. TJ’s Gut Reactions were a delight, as was Baxter. Ted’s knowledge of the game is encyclopedic. I learned a lot from his work. I got to know Doug the best of the crew, and he’s a person of the first order. I look forward to watching his son grow through Facebook, et cetera. Andrew Mason is a particularly talented writer and a truly nice guy. There are several others that have inspired me. Lindsay Jones continues to be exceptional, particularly her bios.

I have friends that I’ve met through my work here that I expect I’ll be in touch with throughout my life. That’s a powerful thing. It’s sad to leave, but I’ve learned so much through the discussions, arguments, and feedback that it’s been, quite simply, a great joy for me. The chance to have you take me into your homes and your days has been an opportunity that I’ve tried to treat with the integrity it deserves. It’s been an honor.

An old Yiddish proverb says that when God makes a man want to write, it’s because He wants to make him humble. There’s no shortage of truth there. There are things I’ve written that make me cringe. Yet, there are others that I’m still proud of. Overall, my hope is that I’ve been able to pass on some of the love of the pageantry, excitement, and interest that I’ve found in this game. It’s an endless journey to learn about it. That’s part of the continued joy of it.

I think that the NFL is going to continue to go through changes. Some of the coming ones will be huge. Most of them are long overdue. The concussion issues and health issues concern me deeply. I believe that many of the physical problems related to the game can be overcome. The league is slowly being embarrassed into improving that. We’re learning that some of what we believed about the physics of the game was simply wrong. I’ll watch those growing changes with interest.

There’s always a moving circus of young men getting into trouble, which isn’t exactly a shock. I’d like to see better behavior, but they’ll have to get their own ducks in a row. Have them ask Chris Harris about how to behave. I was glad that Doug chose that piece of mine to run last - he’s one to go out on. He seems to be as fine a man as a cornerback. It’s what we often wish football gave us more of.

I’m always at em-smith@hotmail.com. I’ll be keeping alloverfatman@gmail.com open, and I’m also on Twitter. I’m not incapable of dictating, and I never pass on a chance to talk football. Especially, but not limited, to Broncos football. If you have the urge, feel free to talk, whether we have before or not.

More than anything, I want to thank each of you. Every one of you has made me a better writer and a more thoughtful man. I’m indebted to you for that. I get emails or comments from people I never knew, who have read my work since the beginning. It never ceases to amaze me. I’d worked 70-hour weeks as a physician, author, and teacher. When I had to retire, it was time to just do something for fun. I’d always loved the game of football. It lead me to the DP, and through endless twists and turns, it lead me here, and I couldn’t have asked for a better trip. I hope that I’ve given a portion of that gratification back to you. That’s always been the goal.

On a personal note, over the years I’ve gotten to feeling quite protective of our readers. Take care of yourselves - and of each other. We’re all we have, folks. We tend to judge ourselves on our intentions. Others often judge us by our last mistake. Watching the comment threads has been a remarkable course in human dynamics. It, too, has made me rethink a lot of what I believe about life.

I hope to see you around the net in the future. I’ll do less film work, but while I wouldn’t have my child play football as it stands now, I’m still excited by it.

Thank you, for making me a part of your lives. You’ve made mine substantially sweeter. All the best to you, my friends.

Doc

Learn to laugh at yourself. You will be ceaselessly amused. - Sri Gary Olsen

You can reach Doc at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or follow him on Twitter @alloverfatman

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