It is with considerable sadness that I announce that this will be the final post in Knop's Knotes. I started this blog in 2011 with the idea of tracking local sports, but its focused never was on anything but wrestling.
Since then you have logged on to check out results, my thoughts, photos and videos nearly 300,000 times. That's a staggering number, but considering the passion that Pennsylvania has for wrestling, I guess it shouldn't be a surprise.
As much as I've loved doing the blog, it is time for me to move on. Trying to be the editor of The Tribune-Democrat and live up to the standard that I tried to set with Knop's Knotes was a difficult task, but my addiction to wrestling and the kind comments of my readers kept me going.
I have accepted a new challenge, one that will take me far from the District 5 and 6 gymnasiums on cold winter nights. Beginning June 1, I will be a sports writer for West Hawaii Today, a small newspaper in Kailua-Kona on the western side of the Big Island of Hawaii.
When most people hear about the move, the first thing they ask is "Do they have wrestling there?"
Yes, they do. I checked before accepting the position. Actually, they have both boys and girls wrestling.
I know Hawaii doesn't have the caliber of wrestling that Pennsylvania does, but then again, no state does. So, sure I'll miss not seeing guys like Chance Marsteller, Jimmy Gulibon, John Rizzo and Nick Roberts. It's a treat to get paid to watch the best wrestlers in the nation compete.
But more than that, I'll miss the wonderful people that I've met over the past 33 years of being involved in western Pennsylvania. I often tell people that when Tami and I were first dating I took her to the Thomas tournament in Bedford (romantic, eh?). Between the entrance to the school and door to the gym, I had about five people stop and talk to me. After the fifth one, she turned to me and said "Do you know everyone here?"
Not quite, but it sure does feel good to know that I could walk into almost any gym between Meyersdale and Altoona and see a half-dozen or more people that I consider friends.
So, yes, I'll miss the sport. I'll miss the blog. But, most of all, I'll miss all of you.