So Long and Thanks for All the Fish

It’s time.

If it wasn’t for COVID-19 and a global viral pandemic, I’d still be knee-deep in the grind, getting ready for the first long road trip of the 2020-21 NHL season for the Predators. While I wouldn’t actually be travelling, I’d be covering it the same way I’ve done it for the past decade.

I would be happily ready to see my normal press row friends over the course of 41 home games, plus hopefully another handful of playoff games.

But being home with the wife and kids for seven months has changed my outlook on how I’ve spent my time over the last decade and how I’ll be spending it further.

November 4th’s Nashville SC vs FC Dallas match will officially be the final sports event I will cover in over a decade of covering sports here in Nashville.

I’ve written a retirement letter like this before, a few years back, but the fine folks at FOX Sports were able to coax me out almost immediately and it was a really good time while it lasted. I was even able to secure a book deal thanks to the overwhelming support of my boss at FOX at the time, Cory McCartney. It’s a pretty neat thing to be able to tell folks that you are a published author and find your book at local bookstores around town.

Not only that, but I had the privilege of hosting a hockey show on 104.5 The Zone for the last three years. The fact that former program director Brad Willis trusted me and had confidence that I could execute the station’s only hockey-dedicated show is an honor I’ll never ever forget.

I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would be able to fulfill almost every goal that I set out for when I started writing about the Preds back in 2010. I wanted to become a respected member of the Nashville media. I wanted to be on the radio. I wanted to be on TV. Eventually, I wanted to win an Emmy.

The last one didn’t happen, unfortunately, but four out of five isn’t too bad!

There comes a time, though, when you have to really take a look at what you’re doing and ask yourself why you’re doing it. And if the latter question even comes into the equation, it’s time to go.

Being away from home 41-plus nights a year can be incredibly taxing, especially when you have four young children and a wife who has bent over backwards to allow you to chase your dreams.

When the pandemic hit, it gave me a chance to cover these games from home. That’s when I first felt like I was running on fumes. When you’re constantly running and you get a chance to sit down for a minute, everything seems to catch up to you all at once.

Then my radio show was unceremoniously cut from the programming lineup. Thomas Willis and I initially grew the show into what I believe was a must-listen on Wednesday night for Preds fans year-round. Then, when Thomas graduated on to the highly-successful and equally fantastic Preds Podcast alongside Brooks Bratten, I brought my brother Deron and my good friend Alex Daugherty from A-to-Z Sports in and we made it something of our own. Some of the funniest moments I’ve had in the last couple of years have been on Wednesday nights with those two and I’m going to miss it very much.

Once the show was cut, though, I lost whatever amount of energy was left in my tank to cover sports. I love going to sporting events. I love providing my opinion on Nashville’s teams to those who will listen, and I try to have good opinions, but it’s time I step back and become a spectator again.

My kids are starting to really grow and before I know it my son will be in high school and then college. My two oldest girls are dedicated softball players and one of them just made the school basketball team, so I’m going to be spending the time I would be going to hockey games cheering on my own kids instead.

Finally, the downtime over the last few months has allowed me to focus on something else that’s re-invigorated me a bit: being a public address announcer.

Green Hill High School, Wilson County’s newest high school just a handful of miles east of Nashville, gave me the honor of being the announcer for the first season for Green Hill’s inaugural football team. Then I was offered basketball as well, to which I immediately accepted.

I’m growing into this “Voice of the Hill” thing and I can’t be more thrilled!

I didn’t think the 2019-20 NHL season, and subsequently the 2020 MLS season, would be the final things I would cover in my professional career, but here we are.

Let’s not say goodbye, either, because if I get an itch to write about something someday, you’ll see it here exclusively at Broadway Sports. Because everyone knows I have a big mouth and can’t keep it shut forever. I’ll always have an opinion about something.

For the time being, though, I’m done. I’m going to sign off for a while after November 4th and we’ll see where things go from there.

My email is always open, so if you desperately need to get in touch with me you’re more than welcome to do so. I’ll always answer every email or message I get, whether positive or negative, because you made it possible for me to have any success whatsoever in the sports world and I’ll forever be grateful for it.

Thanks to the communication and team management folks who have had to deal with me throughout the years. I tried not to be difficult, I promise. I just wanted to fit in with everyone else and become a better writer and media member in the process. And, even though I locked horns with a few of you sometimes, you made me better and I’ll forever appreciate it.

Thanks to all the friends I made in the media, especially those that I sat beside year in and year out on press row in Nashville. I’ve made life-long friendships with people that I share more in common with than I thought I would and I’m going to miss being told to shut up on a nightly basis.

Finally, thanks to you readers and social media followers for sticking with me for the last ten years, for all the kind words, and for any time one of you sees me in public and says “hey, I love reading your stuff.” My wife rolls her eyes but I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to hear it.

That’s it, that’s all I got. Shut up, me. Wu-tang.

Author: Kristopher MartelCovering the Nashville Predators since 2011, and a fan of the team since they arrived, Kristopher has witnessed both the highs and the lows of the organization, spanning quick exits in the playoffs, multiple coaching changes, their only trip to the Stanley Cup Final, and more. Often trending to a more analytical approach, Kristopher enjoys breaking down some of the more detailed aspects of the Predators while at the same time trying to offer fans a friendly approach to the advanced side of hockey. When he's not around the rink, Kristopher is an avid Cleveland Browns fan, collects and enjoys fine bourbon, and likes to spend plenty of time around his grill and smoker. Kristopher, his wife Amanda, and their four children reside east of Nashville in Lebanon, Tennessee.

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