JUDD: Sometimes a quick family trip puts everything in perspective
Ever since high school sports were indefinitely put on hiatus once again, I have been able to take a couple steps out of my reporting comfort zone.
To be honest, I think it's been a really nice change of pace for me.
As disappointing as it was to have sports suspended for a second time since the spring, when it happened this time around, it came as no shock whatsoever when the announcement was made.
Obviously, as a sports reporter at heart, right now I would rather be keeping tabs on how basketball teams are doing as they prepare to enter the upcoming holiday break.
But since that's not a possibility at the moment, I've honestly been ecstatic and thankful to be able to do other things.
This is something that I used to imagine not being such an ideal situation for me, since I didn't have much experience doing so in the past.
It's given me the opportunity to speak with people I previously wouldn't have even had the chance to meet in the first place.
Speaking to members of the community without the subtext of sports and being able to cover events where there are no stats or whistles has actually been more refreshing than I ever thought it could be.
Waking up each morning knowing there might be something new that I'm asked to do a story about has been an exciting way to start my days.
A primary example of this is what I was able to do earlier this week when I was asked to write a story about a couple Christmas tree lots in the area, which required me to visit one of them and take some photos.
Growing up with my father in the military and always having to move, we never had a natural tree for Christmas and we definitely never made it to any lots either, so this was my first time visiting one.
I'm thankful that I was able to bring my wife and daughter along with me for the quick trip to Duddles Tree Farm in Reed City, even though the wind and low temperature made our trip more brief than we would have liked.
It was a nice, peaceful experience seeing the various types of spruces that the farm had to offer and the large machinery used to get them ready for Dec. 25.
I know it probably sounds a little trivial, but it was an experience that I'm glad I was able to have and share with my two favorite ladies.
Even if my daughter is too young to ever recall the trip to the farm, it's good to know she has more trips to the tree lot in her almost three months of life than I've ever had.
That's good parenting, I think -- I don't know, I'm still kind of new at this.
In the future, my wife and I can bring her along again and again, and this can all be attributed to simply being asked to help out in a way I never have before.
I'm very thankful for that, just like I'm thankful to be able to write something like this at least once a week.
I'll be happy when sports are eventually allowed to resume, but I'm enjoying stepping out of that for now and wherever it might take me for the time being.
Joe Judd is a reporter for the Herald Review. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.