As He Embarks On A New Journey And Bids His Beloved Baby Adieu, Our Founding Editor Sends Along Some Final Shout-Outs, Thank Yous & Goodbyes.
Last month, I finally let the news slip: After an almost 10-year run at the helm of this here website that I founded back in early 2012, I’m stepping down from my post as editor to pursue new opportunities — specifically as the director of digital content across town at WFAA.
I’d be lying if I said this hasn’t been an emotional time for me — because, well, it has been.
This isn’t a surprise. I’ve spent damn near a decade pouring my heart and my soul, my blood, sweat and tears, my (once-decent) credit standing, my (never all that great to begin with) sleep schedule, my everything into stitching together this website’s patchwork survival and surprising success. Of course I’m gonna feel some type of way about walking away from it. It’s only natural. Ten years is a long, long time.
It’s also maybe too long a time. That’s how I’m choosing to justifying stepping away from this role that has so consumed my life over this stretch anyway. It’s time to spread my wings. It’s time to learn new things. It’s time for a new adventure — and, apologies once again to the ornery Captain Hook, but this here Peter still hopes to enjoy a few more thrills before his eventual death.
Overwhelmed as I’ve been by all the kind words, expressions of gratitude and well wishes I’ve received from readers, friends and foes alike since making my announcement, I’ve myself mostly been mum about how grateful I am to all who’ve made my Central Track experience such a rewarding and edifying experience.
Now, as I head out the door and turn the keys of this ride over to a new generation of talented Dallas journalists who are more than capable of driving her, I hope to rectify that by revisiting an old tradition that’s lived on for decades at my old Syracuse University college newspaper, The Daily Orange.
It’s called a “duck.”
I’m not entirely sure of its history. I asked around to some fellow Daily Orange alums to see if they had any idea about where these “ducks” came from, and they weren’t altogether sure, either. One suggested it was a reference to “lame ducks.” A couple others thought it was inspired by the phrase “ducking out,” which is an explanation I personally prefer, whether it’s accurate. Either way, it’s neither important nor the point of this exercise. All you need to know is this: It’s an excuse for outgoing editors at the paper to publicly (if self-indulgently) share their often sappy, mostly inside-baseball goodbyes, shout-outs and thank yous with the world.
Also, it comes with an illustration of that outgoing editor as a duck — and that’s just fun on any number of levels.
Anyway, some 17 years after writing my first one, I figured it was a fitting notion worth revisiting here today.
So, bearing in mind that it’s legitimately impossible to call out everyone who has had an impact on this company since it first started getting brainstormed back in 2011 and that I’m probably going massively regret forgetting to include any number of vital cogs to this machine, here goes.
Cory: I’ve never been shy about how grateful I am for everything you’ve done for me and CT, and I’m pretty sure my public announcements of it just completely embarrass you down to your core, but allow me to scream it from the mountaintops just one more time: You’re every bit as much of Central Track as I am. When people bring up the idea of the “Central Track voice,” they’re unknowingly referring to the one you specifically shaped with your boundless wit and fuck-all spirit. Without you, this site isn’t what it is today. It isn’t anything at all. Thank you for blindly being game to sit shotgun on this ride, and for being my ace since the very beginning of this trip. You are the best to ever do it, the living embodiment of TCB. I am only who I am professionally because of who you allowed me to be. I’m so stoked to see you chasing your own dreams now, instead of just helping me pursue mine. VFFV.
Bruce: Central Track doesn’t happen if we don’t meet at Billy’s wedding. Utterly bonkers to think about — but it’s true, right? This ship never leaves port if not for you. Thanks for your unwavering confidence, for always having my back, for filling in where I’ve long been lacking and for always being the backbone of this whole operation. I don’t know what I did to deserve all that — I really don’t — but I’m endlessly thankful to have found it in you.
Besser and The Hobbses: Thanks for believing in Bruce, and I suppose me. But mostly for believing in Bruce.
Lenzi: I think it’s high time we told the world that the whole side-scrolling thing was your idea.
Melissa, Brittany and Jam-Jam: My Day-Oners! You’ll forever have a special place in my heart. Thanks for making this dream real. Thanks for making this thing fun.
Josh, Phil, Kimmie and Mike: Without the day-one advertising support of City Tavern, Dada, Double Wide and the Granada, this whole thing goes belly up within its first year. Countless young journalists never have a platform take a chance on them. Literally thousands of Dallas musicians, creatives and untold stories never get any press at all. Your support made that happen. I hope you’re proud of that. This city owes you a thanks. You forever have mine.
The rest of our advertisers throughout the years: Thank you for keeping our lights on all this time. It’s scary just how literally I mean that.
The Dallas Morning News, D Magazine and the Dallas Observer: Y’all couldn’t keep our names out of your mouths in the early years, could you? Well, it only sent traffic our way, introduced readers to our then-meager operations and expanded our audience, so I guess the joke has always been on y’all.
The 2011-2012 D Magazine editorial staff, specifically: A former staffer among you once told me that, upon the announcement of Central Track’s launch, you all ran a pool to see how long we’d last — and that the longest bet anyone made was six months. I’d be lying if I said that didn’t light a fire under my ass, though. But I have to ask: What ever became of those funds? I think I’m entitled to them. Find me on Venmo, Zelle or CashApp, whichever you prefer.
Erykah: I don’t know what compelled you to save my number after that one interview. I don’t know why you started late-night texting me out of the blue. I don’t know why you gave me exclusives and welcomed me into your world. All I know is that I’m thankful to know you. More than anyone else, you lent Central Track its earliest credibility, and I’m eternally grateful for that.
Obed: You’re my brother for life, man. I really mean that. You helped this site — and me — grow in more ways than I think you’ll ever truly know. In my darkest days, you were this site’s light. You opened my eyes to Central Track’s full potential and damn well made sure to push it in that direction. I’m genuinely honored to know you, and to count you as a friend. You walk the walk, talk the talk and just inspire the hell out of me with everything you do. I’m so proud of all that you’ve accomplished since setting out down your own path. Stay the course, and keep an eye out for me waving next time you cruise past.
Karlo: Central Track’s secret weapon. I’m still not altogether sure how you found us all those years ago, or what motivated you to reach out and offer a helping hand. I just know I’m grateful you did. When Central Track was still trying to explain to the world what it was, you offered our audience your distinct and unparalleled photographic vision. You captured and encapsulated this site’s spirit before anyone else was ever able to. I don’t know how to thank you for that. I never have. Until I figure it out, I hope a lifetime of being your biggest fan will suffice.
Kathy: Well, if it isn’t Ms. Ride-Or-Die herself! It was clear from the moment we met at that Pharcyde show that you were going to knock down any wall dumb enough to pop up between you and your dreams. I’m just happy to know Central Track was around to serve as a stepstool along your way. Thanks for making us look good all those years, and for sticking around as long as you did — far longer than deserved, we both know. If Karlo gave Central Track its grit, you gave us its glamour. Your vision is singular, your eye is impeccable and your tenacity is unmatched. God help anyone who stands in your way.
Mikel: Here it is, buddy: your credit. You deserve it. Always did. I hope you come back to the game some day. It’s not the same without you. You were always one of the best — with the pen and with the lens. A good friend, too. Decent roommate also, I guess.
Brian, Trevor and Cole: Thanks for, quite literally, offering Central Track a home.
Brett and Austin: Thanks for letting Central Track co-opt your living spaces.
Drew, Alec and Jessi: I wish our dismounts had been smoother. You can’t say I don’t have an eye for talent, though.
Tia and Ashley: You were the beating heart of this site for a long, long time. I’ll never forget that.
Arturo: I’m so proud of you, my dude. What a joy it is to see you and your immense talents shine on an international scale. You deserve the acclaim as much as anyone else in this life. Thanks for the duck. And for the RoboCop illustration. And for… just so much else.
Rodney: Royal’s dad used to be a royal pain in my ass, I’ll tell you what! I do appreciate you always pushing me, though. Really! It kept me on my toes. It made me better. I hope it made you better, too. I’m glad I was able to provide you a platform. I’m a massive fan of the man you’ve become. Please never stop using your powerful voice. It’s a gift.
Vincent: Go Stars!
Lucas: Thanks for the memes and the unwavering support.
Anyone else who ever contributed to the site, be it as a freelancer, an intern, a one-off contributor, whatever: Y’all were always the stars of the show. Thanks for letting us share your stories.
Anyone who has ever read one single word we published: Clicks matter, y’all. I can only hope our coverage has kept you informed and entertained.
Our Patreon subscribers: When Central Track saw only one set of footprints, it was then that you carried us. The pandemic kills us without you guys. That’s not bullshit; we were done for without y’all. Thanks for keeping this thing afloat.
Our Instagram commenters: You jokers are insane. Thanks for the laughs.
The North Texas music scene: Thanks for the killer soundtrack. I hope we lifted y’all up in return.
Ben, Skin, KT and Krystina: Thank you for formally cementing my status as the Bad Boy of Dallas Media™, and for all the on-air support throughout the years.
The Ticket (and its many glorious P1s): I so greatly appreciate you all sharing and giving credit to our coverage of the city from the jump. I swear, Central Track owes at least half its audience to y’all. The “We can do what they can do, but they can’t do what we can do” ethos was already a major inspiration to CT along the way. And that you all embraced us on top of that? Absolute icing on the cake. Thank you for sharing your audience and your platform.
All my favorite bartenders: The heavy pours and open ears went a long way. They really did.
Tom and Kim: I’m sure you’ll never, ever see this, but thanks for always smiling and asking me how I was when I stopped in for my Red Bulls and smokes. It really is the little things.
Sober and Blake: The shit we’ve heard and seen, eh boys? I’m not sure we ride out some of those storms without each other’s sympathetic ears. Thankful to have you around and in my corner. I’m forever in yours.
The Needham Boys: I’m blessed to have a foundation like y’all. Thanks for never letting me lose sight of the dream. Here’s to another 30 or so years of friendship, at least.
The Whatsapp Boys and the Big D United Crew: I’m not sure a better support group exists in this city — or anywhere else. Thanks for gassing me up, for keeping me in check and for always being around, even when I haven’t been.
The Card Says Moops: Thanks for welcoming me into your circle, and for time and time again showing me what real friendship and support looks like.
Robert, Jim, Catherine, Matt and Jake: My Dallas media wartime consiglieres. Thanks for the advice along the way. I would’ve crumbled long ago without your support, guidance and words of affirmation.
Justin: You always got it. And whenever I needed it, you always made sure to be there. You never let me doubt myself. That I’m saying my goodbye in duck form is a tip of the cap in your direction, specifically. You’ll always be my EiC.
Krueger: Thanks for reaching out all those years ago. Thanks for the advice and support along the way. Mostly, though, thanks for encouraging me to take The Leap.
WFAA: Thanks for getting the vision and taking a chance on the kid.
Frances and Stephanie: The keys are yours. Embrace the opportunity. Revel in the challenge. You’ve got this. You’re ready. Go out there and fucking kill it.
Mom, Dad, Natalie and Molly: Thanks for the constant love and support, and for shaping me into the person I am today. Also, please stop worrying about me.
Anton: Buddy, I don’t even know where to begin. Thanks for everything. All of it. The good. The bad. All points in between. Lord knows we experienced it all. You pushed me out of my comfort zone and forced me to grow. You helped me learn how to stand my ground. Your fingerprints are all over this site, and Central Track is absolutely the better for it. You helped make this site what it is today. Hell, you helped make me what I am today. I appreciate you, man. Genuinely. I’m super glad I crashed your wedding. (Kinda weird that I met you and Bruce at weddings, huh? I don’t know that I realized that till just now!)
Emily: You’re the light of my life, the rock I lean on and the best friend I could ever possibly hope to have. I’m so grateful we found each other. Thank you for constantly pushing me, for never letting me off with my bullshit and for all the support you’ve given me along the way. I’m stupid excited that we’re going to be spending the rest of our lives together. Now, what do you say we head off to the courthouse and make this thing official, eh? I love you.
* * * * *
And there you have it.
It’s been the rollercoaster of a lifetime — and I really mean that. It’s been thrilling, it’s been stomach-turning and it’s been invigorating, to say the very least. But all rides, even the best ones, reach their end sooner or later.
It’s time to see what else is going on this theme park we call life.
In the meantime, thanks for the memories. From the bottom of my heart.