Leaving a job you love is not easy.

It is something I have been contemplating for the past few weeks and now has become a reality. With today being my last day as a Clinton Herald employee, I will pursue a new career. I have been offered position with another company and have resigned my duties in the Herald sports department.

The decision to leave was not made lightly and the uncertainty of change is now setting in. In these trying economic times, it was an offer too good to refuse for me, my wife Marsha and our daughter Addelinn.

With that being said, I am very much going to miss this job. It’s not easy to leave a job you love.

As a sports fanatic, this job is one that I have enjoyed greatly. To be able to write and talk about sports for a living has been a dream come true for me and I want to thank the Herald for giving me that opportunity. To take a chance on an ink-stained pressman with a few articles to his credit was a gamble, but hopefully worth it.

The parts of the job I will miss the most are my co-workers at the Herald and getting out and covering local sports.

Though almost constantly working under a deadline, the atmosphere in the newsroom is fun and loose and something I will miss greatly. There is usually some oddball discussion going on while we work like random Chuck Norris facts, obscure movie quotes or what the world would have been like without Waylon Jennings. (He was supposed to be on the plane the night Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper died, you know).

Putting out six editions a week along with special sections and side projects takes a total team effort and every employee in every department works hard to produce a product they can be proud of and hopefully is interesting for readers.

The most rewarding part of my job was covering and writing about local sports.

Getting to know the area student-athletes, coaches and teams and having the opportunity to tell their stories has been very rewarding personally and I wouldn’t trade the last two years for anything. The hours were odd (to say the least) and I didn’t get rich doing it, but I can live with that.

I would like to thank the area athletic directors and coaches for helping us recognize the achievements of their athletes. Your effort is greatly appreciated and hopefully we do your team’s efforts justice.

The current sports staff of Jon Gremmels and Jerry Ramig are experienced and good at what they do and I would like to thank them for letting me learn from their many years of experience. I would also like to thank the previous sports staff of Ted Schultz and Larry Brennan Jr. for giving me a chance as a part-time writer five years ago. I’ve learned a lot from these guys.

Another thank you goes out to those readers that take the time to give us feedback on our Sports section. Whether positive or negative, it helps us to know what you look for in the paper. A lot of time and effort went into our recent sports redesign and hopefully our readers like the new features as much as we liked bringing them to you. Associate editor Scott Levine brought some new and fresh ideas with him when he was hired in June and we implemented them starting in the fall. Though it took a lot of time and effort, it was all worth it.

Though I was here a relatively short amount of time compared to former and current employees of the Herald’s sports department, I hope to have entertained our readers and done justice to area athletes’ accomplishments.

As I sit in a nearly deserted newsroom on Friday night, I remember lots of good times and am saddened by the thought of not being a part of it anymore. It really is not easy to leave a job you love.

Jay Rickertsen has been employed with the Clinton Herald since 2004. First as a part-time sports writer, then as a pressman and then as assistant sports editor. Today is his last day at the Herald.