Monday, April 23, 2012

Well... I have an announcement

I've written somewhere around 1,700 columns for the
Charlotte Observer. This is the hardest one.

I'm leaving the paper and taking a new job.

I'll be writing about sports for a new website. It's part of a
joint venture between The USA Today Sports Media Group and
Major League Baseball Advanced Media. I'll be writing about
all sports -- in particular, I think, college football. More details
are coming next month, and the site should launch sometime
this summer.

I'll be here at the Observer two more weeks.

Let me stop for a second and try to breathe.

This is hard. I still love the Observer, and always will. My wife, Alix Felsing, will still be working
for the paper. We’re staying in Charlotte. I'm not running away from the Observer. I'm running  toward this new thing, with the hope that one day it'll make me as proud as I've been to work 23 years for this great newspaper.

Y’all – meaning everyone who has taken the time to read
something of mine over the years – have been such a
pleasure to write for, and talk to, and figure out the world
with. We've shared some of our most profound thoughts,
and some of the deepest places in our hearts. As long as I’m
alive, you’ll be a part of me.

All of you know that things have been tough for newspapers
the past few years. Some days haven’t been much fun. But
most days still are, because we still have the biggest and
best news operation in the Carolinas, and we still have gifted
journalists who work their tails off to get you the news every
day.

I'll miss a lot of things, but maybe what I'll miss the most is those days when a big story happens and all the brainpower and hustle in this newsroom focuses on doing the story right. Nobody can beat us on those days. Nobody.

The Observer will be here long after all of us are gone. And it's still the best deal in town.

So the fair question is, why am I leaving all this?

Part of it is that lately I've felt a pull toward writing sports. I've dabbled in it for the paper, but I've wondered what it would be like to write sports full-time. There's a built-in joy to sports -- at the end of every game at least half the fans are happy, and that's more than you can say about a lot of things in life. More than that, sports gives a writer access to all the big issues -- love, loss, the desire to connect with other people, the longing for something larger than yourself.

My bosses at the Observer, as we were talking all this out, offered me a chance to write a lot about sports. But there was something more in my head.

Let me try to describe it.

Sometimes, when you’re going down the highway, you can
look over and see another road running beside the one
you’re on. I’ve spent a lot of time on the highway, and I've often wondered
about those people on the other road, how the world might
look from over there, how our journeys might be
different even though the direction is the same.

The thing is, you can’t know unless you take the other road.

This road I’ve been on with the Observer, and with you, has
been the trip of a lifetime.

This paper gave me a chance at the greatest job I've ever had. And it only worked out because so many of you gave me a chance and let me into your lives, a few hundred words at a time.

I'll have some more to say over these next couple of weeks. For now, let me say thank you. And let me also say that thank you isn't nearly enough.

165 comments:

Sandy from Charlotte said...

This is a loss for Charlotte, but I am very happy that you have the chance to pursue your passion. Best of luck and thanks for the many wonderful articles you've written for us.

Bobby said...

This one stings a bit, I feel like we've grown to know you personally though your columns and they were always ones I read when I picked up the Observer in the mornings, the paper will feel a lot lighter without them.

Good luck on the new venture, I'm glad you guys are staying in Charlotte. The USA Today group just got one heck of a writer.

Anonymous said...

You'll be missed Tommy. It really is such a shame what has happened to newspapers in general and TCO in particular and I'm not saying that to rub anything in. I miss the big-fat newspapers I would read from cover-to-cover when I was younger. I wish there was some magic bullet the newspaper biz could come up with to pay guys like you what you deserve. Alas, we just have to hope papers like TCO can figure out how to stretch more money out of this online advertising thing while they can. Anyway, I started reading TCO when I was in the 4th grade to keep up with the Panthers' first season and I remember your columns even way back then. Definitely my favorite of all-time. Godspeed Tommy!

Chuck Smith said...

Congratulations Tommy! I have always enjoyed your columns and will miss you greatly. Best of luck in your new endeavors.

Anonymous said...

Say it ain't so. You've humanized the issues and stories through the eyes of the community. Often you were the words of reason when all others were pulled to one of the extremes.

While many people do well, you did good. Making a difference in the life of our community.

I wish you well - but, it's just sports.

cherish730 said...

Tommy, it has been a joy reading your articles and I always considered it a joy during the time that I worked at the Observer to know you as a friend. Best of luck to you as you turn the page and write the next chapter in your life.
Cheryl Cathey-McManus

Anonymous said...

Best of luck! We are losing an important thread from our community.

Anonymous said...

good Luck Tommy. I enjoy your columns and will miss them.

Anonymous said...

Tommy, I truly hope the grass is green as you look out while going that "other road." We will miss you. Thanks for all the great articles and opinions. Please write about my Miami Dolphins as much as you can! Take care and may God Bless you.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your hard work and the compelling columns you write so often. You will be missed. The grass is not always greener...but you never know until you try.

Jackie Simpson said...

Tommy, you will be greatly missed. While I am not a sports fan, I am sure you will do an excellent job. Just know that many will be sad to see you leave the Observer. I definitely will be. I always look for ward to your articles and have been glad to call you friend. May God richly bless you in your new endeaver.

Anonymous said...

I always enjoyed your columns and am sad you're leaving, but glad you have this new opportunity.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Come on dude. Youre not leaving a dry eye in the house.

Movin on up to the eastside to a
d-lux apt in the sky ... finally gettin a piece of the $$ pie

Never 4get the lil peeps peons and peasants down in the CO valley ...

Merritt said...

HORRIBLE NEWS!

You will be missed. Your one of the only voices that seems to answer to his own mind, not those of the business leaders.
With you gone, Robercheck gone, and Green gone, there is zero reason to read this rag now. Best of luck to you!

mdfoster said...

Miss you Tommy. Good luck in your new job!

Richard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard said...

Good luck. This new USA Today venture, with you and Posnanski, will be a great read. I guess your lunch at Olive Garden paid off!

Anonymous said...

Tommy, thanks for reporting as a writer and not writing as a reporter. Your heart was always demonstrated in your work.

Happy travels...

Meredith said...

Ugh, this makes my heart hurt. I have loved almost every column you have ever written and wish you the very best in your new venture. I'm glad to hear that you all are staying in the 'hood. God speed.

Anonymous said...

Congrats, Tommy! While this is tremendous loss for the Observer and for our fair city, this sounds like an amazing new chapter for you - a very deserved one. You've been my favorite writer in this town since I moved here - you've made me laugh, cry, think, reevaluate and count my blessings. You've been a true gift. Please say you'll still be teaching writing workshops from time to time!

Anonymous said...

Good luck Tommy. I wish you and your wife the very best. I've enjoyed reading your column over the years.

Anonymous said...

I'll forgive you for leaving us if you promise to write a novel in your "spare" time that we can enjoy. Always thought you should do that... You will be missed.

Anonymous said...

Dang it, you sure can write good columns!
Seriously, i wish the best of luck to you and your family in the future. It has been a pleasure to get to know you thru your wonderful work for the CO.
Happy trails...

Anonymous said...

I have so enjoyed reading your columns, and am sorry that will end (I'm not exactly a sports follower!). Best of luck to you; your shoes will not be easy to fill.

Anonymous said...

Tommy, I am always happy to hear when someone steps out to pursue a new path This time is no different but I will certainly miss your writing. It has been a favorite of mine over the years.

Wishing I read sports articles....maybe it's a habit I should pick up over the summer.

Best of luck in your new venture.

Neca Bennett said...

Good luck, Charlotte is on the losing side of this game. But the entire country will see your worth now.

Anonymous said...

Best of luck Tommy... I will surely miss your wit and thought provoking writing. If the Observer had any sense, they would make you their top sports writer!

I look forward to reading your articles under your new assisgnment!

Anonymous said...

Make sure you let us know how to find this new venture so we can still enjoy your writing! Best of luck and thank YOU for many good years.

Donna said...

As many tears from your fans today as there was on your wedding day- a column everyone remembers, Tommy.
Yes indeed, The Observer is losing yet another great newspaperman!

sanitizer said...

I am sorry you are leaving, I have been fond of reading your musings for some time. I really think your talent will be somewhat misplaced focusing on sports even though at this time you feel drawn to do that. Good luck to you.

BUCKGUY said...

Tommy although we havent always agreed I do wish you the best in your next endeavor. Honestly your writing skills were being wasted at a local newspaper level anyway. Your writing style made it easy to picture what you were writing about when I read it and I will miss that. But some of the better ones need to answer that calling and your phone Mr Tomlinson has been ringing for a while. Best of luck and much deserved success!!!!

Anonymous said...

Tomlinson is the type of guy you could trust with your sick grandmother if you had one. No lie.

Tammy Tingle said...

I have enjoyed reading your columns and following you on twitter!!!! Will continue following you and keeping up with you on twitter!!! Go Dawgs!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Best of luck to you. Nothing wrong in trying something new.

Anonymous said...

I likeed Tommy's column until he got back from Boston. Something happened to him up there, he was changed and not for the better.

Archiguy said...

Tommy has been transitioning out for a while now, his title and duties changing several times in recent years. But he sure knows how to put words together in a descriptive fashion few can emulate.

Which is why I'm concerned about him confining his considerable talents to the relatively limited world of sports. Aren't there already enough of those guys? Enough of our national focus devoted to it?

I wish him well on this new endeavor, but wish even more he'd stay on this everyman-oriented "observational" beat a while longer. Like the next 20 years or so.

Anonymous said...

Don't let the door hit your A$$ on the way out :>)

Anonymous said...

Good luck - you're a great writer, I rarely agreed with your political spin, but best of luck!

Skippy said...

You will be better off in the end, this paper like the rest have The RIP sign boards already in production and you know that.

Bernie Kohn said...

Tommy, congratulations on having the passion and guts to strike out on something new while you're young and energetic enough to do it, and before newspapers realize they can't afford columnists - even ones as great as you - anymore. Those of us who were unable to leave newspapers on our own terms are a trifle jealous. Allbest to you and Alix ...

Anonymous said...

Good luck! Hope to see lots of Georgia football articles from you this fall. Go Dawgs!

Anonymous said...

You have a way of writing about a subject, or writing a story, that put things into a perspective that many of us never thought about before. You have a great talent and I wish you luck using that talent in your new endeavor. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

See ya!

Anonymous said...

Tommy,

Thanks for "The Memories" . We enjoyed every column.

Al Vaughn

Anonymous said...

congrats tommy

Anonymous said...

Boston is bean town... Those beans can be deadly w/o Beano ...

JT was born there before daddy took him back to UNC and Carrboro but hes been back on the Vineyard a while on his 2nd fam. Lot of cool chicks inc his ex hot babe Carly .. Nobody does it better ... accord to JT

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a better Gig. Good luck.

T. Bennett said...

Tommy, you will be missed. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

As long as we'll be able to follow you on the national scene, I won't count this as a loss. The Observer however, yeah, that's a loss for them. Big one.

Ed Walter said...

Tommy T,
What can I say that hasn't been said? Not much since it seems we all feel the same. Will miss your column immensely. Loved a whole bunch of them, thought you were outta your cotton-pickin' mind with some, and cried over more than few. BUT I always read every word and waited impatiently for the next missive. Sports? Meh, but I hope you enjoy the new road. We'll miss you!

King Ward said...

It's time.

Anonymous said...

Tommy, you've always been able to put the words to so many situations of what so many of us are feeling...leaving us with "wish I had said that". You have an unbelievable talent for expressing your feelings and putting things in perspective. I wish you the best in your new venture...but would be lying if I didn't say you will be sorely missed.

Anonymous said...

TOMMY THROUGH ALL THE YEARS I'VE FELT YOU WERE THE MOST IMPARTIAL WRITER I'D READ. THE NEWS WAS THE NEWS NOT WHAT TOMMY THOUGHT THE NEWS SHOULD BE. CONGRATS ON NEW VENTURE AND KEEP YOUR APPROACH ' IT WORKS!!

Anonymous said...

Tommy, you are the best. I'm so glad we've had the opportunity to enjoy your writing for so long. I've always said that the best writing is from the heart. You've done that from day one.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the upgrade from the Disturber to national.

Butch Kegley said...

We will definitely miss you, Tommy. It has been a real pleasure to read your columns in the 22 years I have been in Charlotte. You have a way of touching people with your words. And you perspectives on things are refreshing. I'm sure I am like a lot of your followers, we will follow you wherever you go if we can. Good luck, we wish you the best.

Anonymous said...

What sports are you going to cover?

I say ”Man vs. Food”.

Anonymous said...

Dang,
When this guy checks out hes gonna have a packed house down at the funeral home.

Dolley said...

Good Luck, Tommy. I always loved your writing - especially the early columns. I think you started to get swept into the liberal lunacy there at the end...(a la "All Over But the Shoutin'") but I still love you! Good Luck!

Philip Andolina said...

My time reading your column was too short. I could have learned much more from you. Too much else to do and sports is not my thing, but I wish you all the luck.

Wise is he who lives first to learn - that he may learn best to live wisely.

Anonymous said...

You'll be dearly missed. The way you write to convey the feelings of so many is a treasure for many. Best of luck to you with your new venture. Hopefully you can do for the sports world what you have done for us here, putting a real face, a real feeling behind things. Best of luck.

Chille said...

Excuse me while I selfishly go cry in the corner.

Anonymous said...

Well dang that just stinks.

Best of luck to you.

Anonymous said...

It will feel odd but you'll survive - probably longer than the paper, of course! Best of luck to you - your tender spirit and insight will be missed.

Anonymous said...

Too many people took potshots at you over the year, myself included. Have a good one.

Anonymous said...

Tommy's Sexy Bear! I'll miss seeing his face pic everyday. *GROWL*

Michael Solender said...

congrats tommy - all good things for you in your new gig, look forward to seeing your byline in the new venture.

Anonymous said...

Take that 23 years and run, gotta be worth something down the road...

Anonymous said...

What a loss for the Observer and all of us who have loved your column and your amazing way of putting our thoughts into words in a way we couldn't do ourselves. I'm sure that, with your talent, you'll find a way to give a deeper meaning to a football game. With your involvement, maybe I'll even start liking football...

Anonymous said...

As so many have said already, I hate to see you go. Your columns were always WAY above the norm. Your gifts of perception and language are extraordinary. I've read many of your columns aloud to savor and share your ideas and expressions. So ... I probably won't read sports articles aloud, but I do wish you much joy in your new challenge!

Anonymous said...

actually, a lot of people can beat the observer on reporting...especially this hospital rag stories. let me think of the news organizations that beat the observer...the daily planet, the onion, the daily show, hillcrest elementary daily news, baghdad times...well you get the idea.

Anonymous said...

Tommy, the Charlotte Observer is like the Titanic...just moving the deck chairs while good solid writers jump ship. Who's next? Washburn? Fowler? The depth of the paper is just about 2 1/2 inches now. Sorry to see you go. Do what makes you happy. Godspeed.

Shelly said...

this makes me sad, you're my favorite...hope to find the new website

Anne said...

You have made me cry, laugh and give great thought to topics. I will miss you. Good wishes at your new job.
Anne

Anonymous said...

I hope they pay you alot. My guess is the Observer has been "out of" money for quite awhile now...judging from the deplorable condition of the inside of the building (and it's old and empty desks).

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your new job! I hope it will be as good to you as you've been to us here in Charlotte. You will be missed, but I have nothing but wonderful wishes for you! Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on what must surely be such as exciting time in your life. I will miss you dearly and hope that you will consider writing a book of the amazing articles you've written during your tenure at CO--At least we'll have something to turn to for that occasional "Tommy fix". Best Wishes Always!

Anonymous said...

Best of luck.

Please take Taylor Batten with you.

Anonymous said...

Hate to see you go, however, I know how you feel to be working with a bunch of losers!

Unknown said...

Probably a wise career move, especially if you'll be doing sports-column writing more than sports reporting. I might say that maybe you'll miss it, but I think I'd be wrong ... because those days of newspapering and newsrooms are gone, and you were there at its prime. And I think about my 95-year-old grandmother, who always says it's tough to grow old, to outlive friends and loved ones. I imagine The Observer could have that sad feeling of being one of the last guys standing. Good writers love the words, the moments, the story and the people most of all, and that transcends subject, medium, employer or audience. I say go where you can grow, push yourself out of the sleepwalking spaces, no matter how good the dream ... inspiration and excellence come with the excitement, unknowns and pace of change. Cheers to you!

Tina Manley said...

There goes my last reason for ever subscribing to the Observer. The Herald got rid of Dan Huntley so I quit that. No real writers can ever make a living these days writing as columnists for newspapers. We will suffer the bloggers who get paid exactly what they are worth. Journalism will suffer.

sherry said...

Tommy,
One of the best things you have ever written is the column that ran on the day of your wedding. I asked you for it when my son was married, and you sent it to me in an email--I treasure it, and it is included with every single wedding gift I have the privilege of giving. Please, in the next two weeks, publish some of your more popular columns for posterity--and publish the wedding one as a public service!

Diane said...

Diane said...

Tommy,
I know that I am only thinking of myself when I tell you that I immediately felt a lump in my throat at this news. I feel as if you are a brother. I have been in Charlotte for thirty three years (a yankee transplant) and I have not missed reading one of your articles. I am presently selling my place and moving to Raleigh to live closer to my children so I guess all good things are coming to an end, meaning my love for Charlotte and looking forward to reading your great articles. You are one nice and kind classy man.

Thank you for a lot of years. I wish you the best!

silicon28 said...

Congrats Tommy. We'll miss you here and will have to hunt you down there.

Julie said...

I have never posted a comment following any column or article before today, but this news you have shared can't go without a post. I moved to Charlotte in 1991 and your writing has been a part of life in a way few things are any more. They say change is good, but in this case it is good for you and tough for a reader like me. You put into words so many things that made me smile, laugh and cry. Some of your columns were clipped and saved. For those and all the others, thank you!

Anonymous said...

Good luck! You're awesome!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all your awesome columns over the years and best to you and yours in all you do henceforth.

The Mods

Leigh Dyer said...

Sorry for the Observer, but happy for you,Tommy. Godspeed.

Anonymous said...

The CO just lost their best writer(again). I have enjoyed your articles over the years. Growing up I was always the sports section first kind of guy, but somewhere along the way I read one of your articles.And another, and another... In all the years since, I thought you were a true gem at the CO. Good luck at this new venture.

Anonymous said...

Best wishes in your future endeavors- you will be missed! I always look forward to your columns, and will truly miss your insights and perspective. Lots of luck to you!

Anonymous said...

I just ugly cried. I hope you're happy Tommy.

Anonymous said...

Burn in hell.

Anonymous said...

Best of luck Tommy. I've moved out of NC but still look forward to your columns. Your writing is insightful, sometimes humorous and witty, but always from the heart.

LB

Anonymous said...

Sappy columns for a middle-of-the-road newspaper. No big loss.

Suzanne said...

Best of luck to you. You're going to be an incredible sports writer.

Anonymous said...

So sorry to see you go! Your columns are one of the best parts of the paper. Best of luck!!

Adrian DeVore said...

Tommy,

I enjoyed reading you when I lived in Charlotte and even spoken/corresponded with you several times. Thanks for making me believe that Charlotte was a great place to live. No matter what you wrote, it was always something to look forward to reading. Thanks, again.

Thomas said...

A huge loss for the Observer. You've been my favorite columnist for years and years. Best of luck to you and thanks for sharing all of your great writing!

Karen said...

I know I have to be happy for you but this is a big loss for me. Hard to think about it right now. Best to you for trying a new road. I mean it.

Anonymous said...

Tommy, I had the pleasure to meet you once. You came to speak at one of my classes at UNC Charlotte back in the late 90s. I always remember how you described the need to capture all of the senses for the reader -- and you have done just that for 23 years. I know the Observer staff hates to see you go as much as your readers do. You are such a natural at what you do. Best of luck as you enjoy the view from that "other" road. We'll be here waiting to read every word. See you around town . . .

Anonymous said...

Best of luck, but I wouldn't be making such a move without knowing EXACTLY what my job was. Just sayin....

Anonymous said...

Enjoy the Toy Box, Tommy. We'll miss you!

Jim Sellers said...

Tommy:

In 1998, ou were nice enough to visit me and do a story about my bone marrow donation. It was at the request of a neighbor who called you. I have never forgotten that day. If one person was moved to get on the bone marrow registry because of your story, we did our jobs. I wish you every success in your new endeavor. God bless you.

Kelly C. said...

Selfishly, I'm gutted for all of us folks that enjoyed when a big (or small) story would crack and pop over to see "what Tommy would say". Not as big a fan of sports as I am of the average Joe (or Joelene) but unselfishly - roll down the windows, take the roof down and enjoy the view. To a great journey ahead. Cheers bud.

Anonymous said...

You're a good writer. I'm sure you'll do well in your new venture -- though I never took you for a jock. Good luck!

Alex said...

Omy! What a tremendous loss for The Observer! I'm very happy for you, as it seems like a great opportunity. You have to follow your heart. Good Luck to you Tommy!

Shannon said...

I feel like I'm losing a friend! Your column was always the best part of the Observer. You've made me laugh and cry, but you ALWAYS gave me something new to think about. I will miss your voice and your perspective. You're a true treasure, Tommy ... best of luck in this new opportunity.

Shannon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

You have so much to be proud of, and your followers will continue to follow your success. Best of luck in whatever endeavors you choose, and now we can all say, we knew you when . . . .

scott silverstein said...

your a class act...much love and respect to you and your family!

Anonymous said...

Go write the good stuff and win a Pulitzer for Commentary or a Red Smith award.

Gunnar said...

FINALLY, a dream come true! Why is it the more out of shape and obese the gas bag, the more they want to comment about sports?

Angela Bensberg said...

I'm living and working overseas and Tommy, you're my eyes and ears back in Charlotte. You're also the heart and soul of the paper I used to work for. Your POV, your willingness to see both sides, your propensity for always taking the high road and your ability to call someone out with a surgeon's skill will be deeply missed. I hope this new adventure is your heart's desire, but in the meantime, our's are broken.

Anonymous said...

You're kidding, right? The Obs "the biggest and best" newspaper in the Carolinas? It's because the Obs is one of the few left! And compared to whom? You have no competition!

The "best?" You guys are lucky to get half a story and only half of that right then pat yourselves on the back until you sprain your wrists. You're colleagues wouldn't know real news if bit them in the arse.

So just how did that Harvard Fellowship help the Obs or your readers? I'm thinking not.

And you're staying in this sinking ship of an industry? What are you, stupid? People are smarter these days and have realized they don't need journos to tell them what to think.

And is working from home going to help you loose the ton you need to lose to stay alive another year? Doubtful

tricia said...

Well, darn. As I started reading this, I was hopeful that you were leaving to write a novel. I love your writing, and will miss it greatly.

Anonymous said...

::sigh::
sorry to see you go, but wish you the very best! Mary Curtis and Tommy T's columns were the best reads....sigh

Anonymous said...

Damn you folks need to lighten up. Gesus Krist. There is not a death in the family. The guy is just changing jobs. No big deal.

Now you can read his sports column in USA Today and respond on a national scale while he drives a new Rolls Royce Silver Shadow.

Its assume his main sport will be Japanense Sumo Wrestling & it needs attention plus is a fine sport indeed.

kbrown2 said...

Although I am very happy for you, this news breaks my heart. I don't have much interest in the rest of the paper, but I always visit the website to see if you have a new column. You have always been able to paint such a passionate, vivid picture of life, which frequently brought joy to my heart and tears to my eyes. Just hearing the news of you leaving, I already feel a sense of mourning as if I just lost a dear friend. Best of luck Tommy, I'll miss you.

ricknc58 said...

Pursue your passion. Def a loss for the Observer but we can still read you and as a sports fan I look forward to your work.

Anonymous said...

Good luck Tommy!! you were one of the brightest spots about The Observer!

Anonymous said...

Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

You've got to do what's best for you and your family. I'm not much of a sports fan but I've enjoyed your work. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I wasn't your biggest fan but I always felt you were above the Observer. You never carried the partisan ax to grind that seems to be a prerequisite for working at this paper.

Anonymous said...

I have laughed and cried while reading your articles. You have made me angry and you have moved me to action. Thank you. You will be missed. Best wishes on your new venture!!

J said...

Bittersweet news. I have read most of your columns and blog posts, but I especially enjoyed your stories and opinions on the SEC Expats blog about your beloved Georgia Big Ol' Hairy Dawgs. I'm sure I'll read more of them at the new site.

Best of luck on your new adventure!

Betty Montgomery-Mackey said...

"The improvement of understanding is for two ends: first, our own increase of knowledge; second, to enable us to deliver that knowledge to others." John Locke described your great writing ability. Thank you for the good works on this journey. You've touched our hearts and we wish you the very best in the next chapter.

Tim Collie said...

good riddance, never understood the hype for Tommy

Anonymous said...

I'm sad you're moving on and will truly miss you. You have this way of taking hard issues and giving us a real view on them. You're my "bottom line guy" and you do it with great wit. Best of luck to you, Tommy!

Anonymous said...

I'll join the chorus in missing your columns. A good read is hard to find. Best wishes, Tommy!

hd said...

Ah, Tommy. You will so be missed. Your news and views were always a joy to my mind and soul.
Yeah, I'm an ol' southern boy with a passion for the thoughts, emotions, and insights of others.
Thank you for making me think deeper.
Thanks for the chuckles.
Thanks for the love of humanity.

Raif Holister said...

I hear the Avett Brothers are writing a new song, "I Snuck a Chicken on Tommy's Table and Called it a Pullet Surprise."

Nancy said...

I read your columns regularly when I lived in North Carolina. Five years ago I moved to Florida and now I access them through the internet. I'm glad you have this new opportunity, but sad for us.

Anonymous said...

Tommy, for the love of God, take some time off and get in shape...or your days of working may wind down a lot sooner than you wish.

Anonymous said...

Tommy,
I've never written a comment, or called or wrote to you, but I just had to say that I'm going to miss you. Any day your article is in the newspaper (aka online) is always the best day for me. You have a true gift for writing and sharing your heart and making me laugh, cry and think about a different opinion than my own. I think you will continue to share your heart even with your sports columns - because that's who you are-don't change who you really are - just get better. Best of luck always and Godspeed. Peggy

PS - writing a novel or putting your columns together in a book is a wonderful idea! Think on it.

Anonymous said...

Our Loss is their gain...Enjoyed your columns..Hope the new venture works out as well as the time spent at the Observer

Harold Bales said...

Congrats Tommy! You are a superb thinker, writer, and person! A winner!

budman said...

Good bye, good riddance! One less liberal at the COB. Unfortunately they will replace you with someone as liberal or extremely more liberal.

Anonymous said...

I'll never forget the tribute you wrote to your wife before you were married. Godspeed!

20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the things you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.

-Mark Twain

Anonymous said...

Back when I subscribed to the Charlotte (about five years ago), I really enjoyed your column...even the ones that occasionally make it to the website are enjoyable. The list of former Charlotte Observer folks continues to grow that much larger...

kantstanzya said...

Tom,

I've jousted with you several times...long before we could post comments on line in personal emails. You even had the integrity to admit when you might have taken journalistic license on the facts from time to time. Classy.

We know you are a liberal...but one that wasn't in our face all the time with nastiness. All in good spirit and always cordial. And many of your columns were completely apolitical anyway. So I'm thinking maybe you were just pretending to be a liberal so you could work at the Observer? Maybe you are really a conservative deep down?

For one thing you speak highly of the Observer and of the people who work there. So are you ready to admit corporations really are people afterall?

You write "the thing is you can't know unless you take the other road." They also say "sometimes the road less taken is less taken for a reason." I'm sure that won't be your experience and things will work out great.You will be missed.

Good luck!

One sad customer said...

I really, really hate to see you leave. I've cried, laughed (especially when a druken Tommy sang a Whitney song on Burbon St)and ran the gamut of other emotions as i've read your articles over the past decade. There's not many journalist that can make a friend sight unseen or create pictures with words, but you are one of them. Vaya con Dios in your new endeavors.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Congratulations! You will be missed.

There are still several greats over there. You were definitely one of them.

Tom Sorenson and Steve Lyttle are right there with you. Hope they can find a way to keep those guys on forever.

Good Luck!

May Johnston said...

Hmmm... guess I'll have to start reading about sports - something I've never cared much for! Huge, huge loss for The Observer and its readers (but I had already missed seeing your column(s) as much as in the past). Glad you're staying in Charlotte and hope this new venture is all you want it to be! Congrats!

Anonymous said...

Never cared for you much and just wanted to take some time and tell you that.

Anonymous said...

Bye.

Anonymous said...

Tommy, I first read your column when you were writing about the summer Olympics (was that the games of '92?). I called you because you said that equestrian events could be eliminated (WHAT, are you nuts?). Even though I disagreed with you on that point, I thought you were great with words and I have read your columns ever since. You are the shining star of the Observer. I've moved from Charlotte, but still go online to read your columns. I put you in the category of great southern writers; like them you get under things, inside things, behind things. You put us there where you are. Good luck on your next venture.

Anonymous said...

Good riddance to your cheeseball fluff pieces! Hopefully you grow a pair before attempting to write about sports. Good luck.

Tainted Fibers said...

I hate to see you go, but congratulations! I have been a reader as long as you have been writing. You will be missed!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear this but best of luck. As far as I'm concerned you have been this generation's Kays Gary, and that's as good as it gets!

Anonymous said...

Tommy, I know well you'll continue to write columns that will appeal to both sports fans and those who are not. Shelby Strother, who was a personal friend, did; and I still have some of his columns tucked away. Apparently, some of your fans don't realize this is possible...esp. with a gifted writer as they know you to be. Much success. Pet your dog for me.

Anonymous said...

Ok- how long do we need to have the article posted-- he's leaving-

Nancy B said...

Goof luck, Tommy. I've enjoyed your column all these years. Blessings to you as you take "the other road." Nancy B

Anonymous said...

Tommy,

I've read the Observer since 1960. You're my favorite general columnist in all that time. I hope the bew venture will be fulfilling and exciting for you.

I look forward to reading your stuff on the new site.

Steve McCallum
Charlotte

Anonymous said...

Definitely won't miss you. The CO could hire a monkey to replace you and be better off.

Anonymous said...

I've read your articles in the CO since 1972 and especially enjoyed your column about cream cheese filling and also watergate. You have captured the essence of the Queen City for decades, even when you went off the reservation and worked for that rag Charlotte News for a few years. We've both watched Charlotte grow up old friend and your scintillating insight and common man approach will sadly be missed. I still chuckle about about that column you did about how friends were made in the gas lines of 1977. Bon Voyage old friend!

Anonymous said...

In Texas they would say you have always been a classy dickweed.akenten

Anonymous said...

Congratulations and best wishes to you in your new venture. I have enjoyed your columns whenever I had a chance to read them....and am glad I was able to see this one before you left, to be able to tell you that you'll be missed. Take care.

Melissa said...

I am so sad to hear that you are leaving. You have such great insight and the ability to put that into words. I have found even your most mundane observations have the ability to move me. Happy Trails, my friend and thanks for the fish!

Just telling the truth said...

If you "think" you're gonna write about college football, then I certainly won't be reading any of your columns...This tells me they are just trying to put a body into this position which implies (no matter your burly stature) that you haven't a clue about college football, so why don't you stick to topics like gay marriage and your poor attempts to defend your position on voting for it...& FYI your writing style is grotesquely pedantic!

Just telling the truth said...

It's called "staying power" John-Boy and Billy have it...too bad you don't, maybe you should take a page from Robert D...duh-huh! Hey big man, let me hold a dollar! "Libby"

Anonymous said...

I am a former reporter and I have NEVER enjoyed reading another "fellow traveler's" copy as much as I have loved your columns, Tommy. I've stopped you in the produce section of HT on Central Ave many times to tell you.

I will miss your writing. You have made me laugh, cry, think and feel...differently. Every. Time.

Best of luck,
Connie Knight

Paul said...

Sorry to see you leave, glad to here you are pursuing a desire. Hopefully you can find time to write a guest column from time to time.

Anonymous said...

:( So sad to see you go, wishing you well in your new adventure:)

Anonymous said...

NEVER FORGET THE PROVEN FACT THAT EVERYONE IS HURT BY GAY MARRIAGE.

VOTE YES

an addict from Hickory said...

I have become addicted to your columns, a morning must-have to bring saneness to my day. The Charlotte Observer has been a better paper because of you and will miss you. But I, I have no desire or willingness to go without a dose of your writing. Let us know when and where we can catch your pearls of wisdom in the sports world.
Wishing you the best.