Walk ‘Em With Grace (A Letter to You. And 2016)

December 16, 2016 By Tom

This is the place I stand
These are the boards I pace
Walk ‘em with graceful steps
The show will go on and on and on and on

-The Get Up Kids

It’s been a few months, eh?

As I sit here this morning, contemplating all that has happened in 2016; it’s hard to process all that has occurred since January.

I’ve written love letters about this city. I’ve penned my heart and soul for public consumption. I’ve navigated dating and relationships. I’ve said goodbye to those I’ve loved. I’ve held the hand of a loved one as they took their final breath. I turned 30. I found success. I experienced failure. I celebrated new professional developments. I was recognized with some cool awards. I was told yes by lots of corporate partners. I was told no to lots of my business pitches.

Most importantly, I survived.

Consider it moral pride, foolish bravado, but this will go down as a year of survival in the midst of all the good and the bad. Mourning, shattered, stressed, it took me the better part of 2016 to find myself again. It happened in August on a houseboat. It was the grounding point in an otherwise chaotic year.

I’m fortunate. And I thank you for that. You helped me get here and navigate the ups and downs along the way. You helped remind me to cherish the victories and learn from the losses. You showed me what it meant to be loved by a community.

I’m humbled. And I can’t tell you how much I look forward to getting to work every morning to be able to serve our youth. I’m honored at the recognition that has been bestowed for the dedication of my entire team. I’m in awe of the talent that has asked to come work for Nine13sports.

I got an email from a friend in January that simply said, “Tom, the entire city has their arms around you right now. I hope you know that.” Thank you Britt for that email. Those few words have stuck with me all year.

My relationship with my mentors have grown, and without their gentle guiding hand I wouldn’t have been able to navigate to where we stand today from where I stood 12 months back. They helped me walk with grace along the way.

This year will mark the year my parents began to make their plans for what is next in their lives and that includes moving to Central Indiana in 2017. I’m excited and ready for the positive change that will come from living in the same city as them for the first time in 13 years.

I wouldn’t be here without you. Every single one of you has been a driving force for me. I hope you take pride in what I’ve been able to accomplish. I beg you to know that you are why I stand here today. This will only continue in 2017 and beyond, and I will attack every day with the goal of making you proud through the impact we can collectively have in this city.

You. All of 2016 has been possible because of you: the family, the friends, the significant other, the partner-in-crime, the family of my partner-in-crime, the enabler, the naysayers, the relationships I’ve said hello to, the relationships I’ve said goodbye to, Jim’s legacy, the corporate partners, the foundation partners, the business relationships that have become friendships, my staff, my friends that have become staff, my staff that have always been friends, SKL family, my board, the ex co-founder, the ex-wife, and of course, my three awesome dogs.

You’re all incredible, and in some way shape or form, I love you all because you’re a driving force in my world.

The best is yet to come.