Off into the sunset

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The final year of the Cincinnati Post was one of the toughest years of my life.


No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't stop thinking about what jobs I would have to work to make ends meet. You know, since my journalism career was about to come to an end. The garbage truck would rumble by the house at 7 a.m., and I thought to myself, "Well, I guess I could be a garbage man." The restaurant server would refill our water glasses, and I thought to myself, "Well, I guess I could be a waiter again."


The guy who gets your coffee, I could do that. The guy who paints lines on the streets, I could do that. The guy who cleans the roadkill off those freshly-lined roads, I could do that.


The paranoia and insecurity got to be ridiculous. I remember taking a trip to New York City to cover a Xavier-Fordham basketball game, and as former Enquirer reporter Dustin Dow and I walked back to the hotel at 1 a.m., I thought about my new career path and how sad I was that my sports writing career could be cut short after just six years. Meanwhile, I pointed out all my new potential occupations (pan-handling seemed like a decent jumping-off point).


But I got lucky on two different occasions. First, a few days after the Post officially closed on Dec. 31, 2007, Todd "T-Bone" Cunningham, formerly of Bearcat Lair, e-mailed and asked me to work with him. I did. Then, after Todd and I parted ways, UC associate AD Mike Waddell and John Mason - the VP and GM of Cincinnati's IMG outfit - set up a meeting and told me their plans to remake


Turn it into a place where UC fans, wanting the latest news and features and interviews, could click and feel satisfied afterward. I accepted their offer, and two years later, I feel like we've begun to accomplish those goals. Surely, there have been some missteps along the way, and the web site isn't exactly the finished product we all hope it can be. But it's got the potential. It's got people behind the scenes who really care about making your one-stop shop for all things UC. It could and will happen.


Unfortunately, I won't be along for the ride as they continue the journey. Today, on June 14, I'm starting work for as an NFL blogger. Then, in late August, I'll be moving to Atlanta with my wife and twin babies so she can begin a fellowship in forensic psychiatry. We'll be there for a year, and then, most probably, we'll move on somewhere else.


Likewise, will get a fresh new voice to cover football and men's basketball. I know who it is, but I'll let UC make that announcement. I will say, though, that my successor will do a fantastic job. That should be exciting for readers - of which I will remain.


I've lived in Cincinnati for six years, and the city has really grown on me since moving here from the south. I've ingested it into my soul, and there it will stay for the rest of my life. This was the first city in which I actually lived with my wife. Where I bought a home. Where I learned so many lessons of life - good and bad. Where I wrote a book. Where I fathered two amazing little babies. Where I've made some of the best friends ever.


Where we're extremely sad to leave.


The other night, my wife went out to dinner with some colleagues, and she got to talking with one of her preceptors, a big UC fan. He talked to her about how much he loved Bearcats Rising and how often he checked the blog. My wife - as Bill Koch might say - is rarely impressed by anything Josh Katzowitz-related, and it always knocks her off her game just a bit when somebody recognizes me out in the real world.


She came home from the dinner, though, and she was beaming. She thought, for just a minute, that I was pretty cool. Either that, or Bearcats fans who follow me on Twitter should be doing something more important with their lives. I'd like to think it was the former.


That said, those are the kind of fans - those who like what I write and how I write it, and those who aren't nearly as impressed - who have made it a pleasure to cover UC these past few years. From Jamual Warren fantasizing about walking off a bridge to Mardy Gilyard describing his car-as-a-home arrangement; from Ron Allen hitting that 3-pointer on Senior Night to Tony Pike's reaction after he found out the Bearcats would play Florida in the Sugar Bowl, I've got to experience - and write about - some of the highest highs and some of the lowest lows.


I've got a list of people to thank for allowing me to do that.


For T-Bone, I'll always be grateful for keeping me from having to fill out the garbage man application. For Waddell and Mason, I appreciate the chance to contribute to the start of something that could - and will - be really cool. For Jeremy Martin, Mike Harris, Ryan Koslen, Lara Thornton and John Berry of the SID department, I appreciate all the help and support you've given to all the media folks in this town and the friendships we've formed (over, no less). But most of all, I thank the fans of my blogs past and present - the Post blog, the BCL blog and the Katz on the Cats blog.


You guys have been great and encouraging, and I appreciate all the positive (and negative) feedback you've given me during the past three years. I thank you for supporting Bearcats Rising. I thank you for stopping me at football games or tracking me down at basketball games just to make small talk.


Most of all, I thank you for reading. It is, after all, what a writer needs most, and I thank you for giving me that special gift. I thank you for allowing me to stay in my chosen profession. As former UC SID Kelby Siler used to answer when you'd ask him how he was, I've been living the dream. I thank you for making that possible.

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