Hudson Valley Sports Report

TIME TO SAY GOODBYE

HVSR Will Shut Down

In 35 years in journalism, I have had to write some difficult stories and columns, most of which were centered around sadness and tragedy.

It was never easy.

And neither is this.

After nine seasons, it’s time for HVSR to say goodbye.

With the exception of a few stories from my great interns that will need to be posted, the site is shutting down.

This has been brewing for a while. It is a gut-wrenching decision, but it is the right decision for me.

Rich Thomaselli Commentary

I won’t compare it to losing a child because that’s just a stupid and inappropriate analogy. But HVSR was like my baby. I always felt like we found a niche back in 2013 when we started this, and my feeling was confirmed hundreds of times over by the kind words from coaches, parents, athletes, the number of similar sites that have popped up, and even (privately, of course!) by our competitors over the years.

A lot of hard work and sweat equity went into HVSR, but it was always paid back 100-fold by all of you.

My goal was always simple – to provide this area’s incredible athletes with more publicity and recognition than they were receiving from the local newspapers in the wake of a changing dynamic in print journalism, and to be an advocate and a voice for them when they had none.

I’d like to think I did that.

As a journalist who believes in transparency, I would be remiss without sharing with you the reasons behind this.

To be frank, I just can’t physically and mentally do it any longer.

As many of you might remember, I lost my left leg below the knee seven years ago due to hubris and stupidity. I have diabetes yet I continued to live the prototypical sportswriter’s life. Fast food, late at night, little to no exercise.

A couple of months ago I almost lost my other leg. As it is, I lost the pinky toe and am still wearing a protective boot – and will be for at least another month – until the wound sufficiently heals. The only upside is, while losing my left leg seven years ago should have been the wakeup call, this time truly was. I am down 40 pounds in nearly three months, my A1C level for my diabetes is 6.8 – keeping it below 7.0 is critical – and my sugar is under such good control by diet that the doctor took me off insulin.

Mentally, I have been fried. I have been lucky and blessed to have steady writing work, including my new gig writing for the New York Yankees and their publications. But trying to do HVSR every night after working all day has been difficult. I’m sort of like Toby Keith – I ain’t as good as I once was 😊 I need to cut back and concentrate on me.

And, to further bring this home on a personal level, it all hit me last week when my doctor advised me to NOT go see my son play his Senior Night football game. It would have entailed walking 50 yards from the end zone to accompany him to midfield, 50 yards back, back and forth to the parking lot, etc., and she wants me off this foot as much as I can.

I continue to be wracked with heartbreak and guilt for not being there for my son.

So for me, this is the right call.

To the parents, I appreciate your kind words and your support.

To the coaches, I am forever grateful. If it wasn’t for people like Dom DeMatteo and Terry Feeley and Galen Franchek and Jim Santoro and Pat Mealy and Brian Laffin and Maria Mahoney and so many others embracing this idea of an online daily paper covering sports, it never would have taken off.

To the athletes, I have and always will envy you for what you do. I played high school football and tennis. I know what it’s like to have been an athlete, but never in this environment of increased competition, stronger and faster opponents, and added pressures like social media. You are rock stars. You are my heroes.

Many of you have been kind enough to call, leave voicemails, comments on stories, posts on Facebook and replies on Twitter thanking me for doing a story. I always felt that was a bit ironic because I view myself as a storyteller. That’s my job, and I should be thanking you for your talent and grace and work ethic and for allowing me to tell your story.

Thank you, thank you, thank you all for everything. It has been my honor and privilege to write about you the last nine seasons.

God Bless.

Rich Thomaselli

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