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Hello from Louisville

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  • 3 min to read
john renfrow

Kokomo, I felt I should address why I decided to move here from Louisville and tell you who your new sports reporter is. I just sort of showed up in last week's issue.

A little about me, I'm both happily and helplessly addicted to my sports, and that's fine with me. People often ask what my favorite sport is, and I've found this to be an increasingly difficult question to answer.

I usually say basketball because I love watching it and playing it. It's difficult to get guys together to play football, too much equipment that nobody has. I'd just rather hoop.

But, I do love watching football, maybe more so than basketball. Never thought I'd admit this, but the NFL is just too awesome.

On Sundays, I watch the RedZone, and I don't do anything else. That is unless there's an NBA Playoff game on afterward, which has been happening recently. Sports have been all over the place due to COVID-19, and I'm absolutely over-the-moon they've returned.

I'm a die-hard Louisville Cardinals fan, which feels like both a gift and a curse 99 percent of the time. It's not necessarily an easy thing to be. But I love my C-A-R-D-S.

I love the NFL and the NBA. I usually just follow my Louisville players around (big Lamar Jackson guy), and I'm a relatively casual Cincinnati Reds fan.

I also love fiction, sci-fi, fantasy. I'm a massive George R.R. Martin fan. I don't know that there's a work he's written that I haven't read. Most people don't know he’s as talented a sci-fi author as he is epic fantasy. Right now I'm reading Tuf Voyaging.

I love Jason Isbell, John Prine, Townes Van Zandt, the good stuff.

I'm wild about spicy food. I don't know why, but I always have been. The hotter, the better. But it has to taste good.

I also love the snow, so I have big expectations now that I'm only two-and-a-half hours from Chicago. Louisville seems to be turning into Nashville, which is no fun in the winter.

But to be able to write about sports feels like a great treat.

The fact that so many in the country are struggling to even find work in this crazy time isn't lost on me. For me to find a job, much less in something I truly love, feels incredible and also lucky.

Back in March, I was working an internship at ESPN Louisville and about to graduate from IU Southeast when everything hit the fan. It was my third internship in college, and I always felt I would land there. I simply wasn't going to miss out on that opportunity.

I also was serving tables on the weekends, which was the job I held to pay rent throughout most of college. (I hated that. My personal version of hell would be working a never-ending brunch shift.)

I was pretty crushed: no conference tournaments, no March Madness, no more NBA, and no more ESPN internship for me. In Louisville we have limited pro sports, so college sports are everything down there.

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My final semester of college moved online, though, which was fine with me. No graduation ceremony was fine with me as well. But after it was done, I was like, "What now?"

What followed was months of quarantine, living with my grandparents and diligently applying for roughly 10 jobs a day on Indeed. I would save each application confirmation and flag the email so I could count how many I'd done.

I was (literally) at 372 jobs when Alyx Arnett at the Kokomo Perspective called me.

I had had a few bites before this, but they were either too far or didn't pay enough.

Usually it was both.

After the interview I knew I still wasn't sure what to do. I've traveled a lot but never moved away from home or lived alone without roommates. It absolutely seemed like an offer I couldn't refuse. But I knew I had to see Kokomo for myself first.

65 North is a straight shot from Louisville, so getting to Kokomo for the first time was a breeze. I've gone to Indianapolis many times for NBA games, and I had a few friends I'd visit in Bloomington. But I usually wouldn't go past the city.

I parked downtown and had a BLT at Main Street Cafe where I took it in and then walked around downtown. I've gone back to Main Street Cafe a lot. That place is consistently good and so close to the Perspective I can't really help it.

It reminded me a lot of New Albany: a little train town with murals, small businesses and a classic-looking downtown. It felt familiar and new and exciting all at the same time. It also was quaint enough to feel welcoming and unintimidating. It charmed me, easily.

I knew I had to take a jump, and this didn't feel like much of a risky one. A town driven by sports, with no shortage of content to cover. Five high schools, IU Kokomo, the Jackrabbits, and now the Bobkats, too? And I get paid for this? It was a no-brainer.

I feel I've landed in Kokomo at this perfect sweet spot of rich tradition and bright revitalization.

There's a lot of momentum here right now, and I'm eager to grow with this town that's charmed me since I rolled in.

Finally, thank you for accepting me into your home and onto your coffee table. I'm thrilled to be your guest.

As an outsider, I'll work twice as hard to serve your community with the skill and grace Jacqueline Rans did before me. I want to thank her for setting the stage so well for me so I could hit the ground running when I arrived.

Go WildKats, Panthers, Comets, Tigers, and Titans; Go Cougars, Jackrabbits, and Bobkats.

I'm grateful to be here, and I hope I serve you well.