Over the years newspapers have come up with some quirky traditions and jargon, the origin of which no one can completely verify.

Take the legendary -30- for example.

There are a half dozen stories about why it came to mean "the end" in newspaper talk.

Some say it was started by telegraphers who used the symbol, or XXX, to end a transmission.

Others claim it comes from the old "hot medal" days when linograph operators would use it to indicate the end of a story on a galley of type.

Eventually when newspaper reporters were using typewriters and multiple sheets of paper they would put -30- at the end of the story.

Well, this is my -30-!

After 50 years in this newspaper business it's time for me and the little black ribbon to retire.

I sort of grew up in this business. My dad was a newspaperman too, back before we were called journalists, and I figured out early in life he had a pretty unique job and didn't seem to really work for a living.

My dad used to say newspaper people were under-paid and over-privileged.

Well, I've certainly been privileged.

As a newspaperman, photographer or sports writer I've been ushered into places that no admission price can ever cover.

It's the kind of job some people might envy, but when they are on their way home or headed to a victory celebration the reporters are just starting to write.

We're addicts in a way, too.

We get an adrenalin rush from racing the clock and beating the deadline. It's even better if it's by only a couple of minutes.

Among the perks of having access to people and places is being able to find your car in the parking lot when you're the last one out of the stadium.

Naturally, people are already asking what I'm going to do with all this free time.

Among the options could be watching sports from a different perspective and enjoying a game without constantly thinking about writing about it later.

I've been fortunate in other ways, too.

My entire newspaper career has been in the Phoenix area, the last 10 at the Ahwatukee Foothills News.

Obviously I'm going to get professional lonely, but this newspaper is in the good hands of a new generation of capable, passionate and caring staff.

What we do, basically, is tell other people's stories and I'm going to find it difficult to be weaned from that, because there are lots of great stories in Ahwatukee Foothills still to be told.

A major segment of those stories for the past 10 years have come out of Mountain Pointe and Desert Vista high schools.

I'll miss being around the coaches, teachers and the administration at both schools.

But I'm certain what I'll crave the most is being around the kids, athletes and non-athletes, who have made doing this so much fun.



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