This newspaper, this amazing product that you hold in your hand, does not just happen. It is the result of many people doing many things, in a hurry.
Inside The Post and Courier, we call it the daily miracle. That's because our business, like your business, owes a large debt of thanks to those who have thankless jobs.
In our world, people like me get their names and faces in the paper every day and the public gets to know us on a personal and professional level.
But there are hundreds of people working behind the scenes to get this paper out each and every day of the year who you've never heard of.
A few of those people work in the sports department and have for a very long time. Theirs is one of those thankless, demanding jobs that never gets noticed unless they do something wrong.
In sports terms, they are the offensive line of the newspaper business. They have to execute their jobs perfectly every time. If they don't, the error is glaring and once it comes off the press it is irreversible.
Granted, we are not perfect. Each day our job is to try and please everybody and each day we fail miserably at that task. But seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, holidays and birthdays and weekends and late into the night, we keep trying.
Bubba and Lynn
Since this is Thanksgiving, I think it's appropriate to introduce you to a few of these people who do this thankless work.
We'll start at the top.
Malcolm DeWitt has a long title, assistant managing editor for sports, which means he runs the day-to-day operation of the sports department and the 20 people under his command.
Known by the nickname, Bubba, he is the heartbeat of the department. Fortunately, his heart only beats three times per minute. No matter what.
It takes a special kind of person to do this job. Bubba doesn't go to games and seldom leaves the office. His mornings begin with readers calling to complain about everything from my column to why somebody's kid's name was left out of a high school box score.
Through it all, he handles it with a steady hand and a seasoned sense of humor.
Keeping him straight is Lynn Tolly, our administrative assistant, who has been doing everything from expense reports to credentials to the care and feeding of sports writers for longer than she cares to admit.
Without her, the sports department simply would not function.
The desk guys
The real bread and butter of this business is done by people we call "desk guys," although they are not all guys.
These are the folks who come in day after day and lay out the sports section on drop-dead deadline and make it all fit.
They edit copy, write headlines, design and package information and put the paper to bed whether it's ready to go or not.
These people include Fred Rindge, Tim Thorsen, Lisa Justus, Chopper Johnson, Keith Namm and Cindy Cloutier.
By the time they leave the building in the early hours of the morning, they have crammed everything possible into the section, sized every photo, read every word and eliminated every possible mistake.
If they didn't, they get to do it again the next day. And the next. And the next.
In my years of doing this job, I've learned that a daily newspaper is a unrelenting, unforgiving, insatiable grinding machine that eats up and spits out people with little regard for family, friends or that thing known as a personal life.
What's left are the survivors, the veterans, the ink-stained wretches who love it and complain about it with equal passion.
I'm proud to say that I work with these people, and that on any given day they make us all proud to be in this crazy thing known as the newspaper business.
Contact Ken Burger at 937-5598 or firstname.lastname@example.org.