So long, and thanks for all the fish.

There are people who will see those words and say, “Oh good, Chuck is finally going away.  Scuse me while I dance a jig and throw a party.”

And there are others who will see those words and say, “Wait a minute.  Chuck’s leaving?  Who said that was okay?  That’s going to screw up my entire routine.”

And there are others who will see those words and say, “Why in the name of Douglas Adams is Chuck quoting lines from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?

Well, there’s 42 different reasons… 🙂

But to be totally honest, I have to do this. After all these years, it’s time for me to go.  And I hope everybody involved understands.  I mean no ill will or harm, I’m not going to kick anyone on my way out the door.  I’ve got more class than that.

How many years ago was I asked to join up?  And how many years did I offer my dedication and support and camaraderie?  People came and people went, but I remained.  Out of loyalty?  Perhaps.  Out of an “us against the world” mentality?  Sure.

I’ve made great friends during this association.  Friends that I will always count as close.  Sure, I haven’t pleased everyone.

But in the end, I know it’s time to move on.

Five years ago, I joined up with a brand new basketball circuit called the Premier Basketball League.  It was made up of teams who left the ragtag barely-more-viable-than-a-YMCA-league American Basketball Association.  I joined up with the PBL during their first season, because, in all honesty, we wanted to achieve success together.

And for five years, we did that.  The PBL became a viable alternative for basketball players who couldn’t get into the NBA, and needed a professional circuit to help them get lucrative overseas contracts.  The games were filled with action and drama, and it seemed like every year the playoffs came down to the wire.

After the 2010-11 season, the PBL’s three Canadian teams seceded from the PBL and formed the National Basketball League of Canada.  The NBL-C team owners asked if I could be part of their league and help them out with statistics and photos and whatever they needed.

I told them that I would, on one condition.  I couldn’t just up and abandon the PBL.  Maybe it’s just the loyalty and dedication in me – they gave me a chance when the Continental Basketball Association crumbled into pieces.  I said that I would provide the same services of statistics and promotions and whatnot to the NBL-C that I had to the PBL, so long as they at least let me finish working with the PBL for one more year.  As long as both leagues understood that I would provide my top support and dedication, and that I wouldn’t snitch on either leagues’ activities, all would be well.

And in the end, I was able to complete my duties with both circuits.  I won’t lie to you – it was tough.  You try to manage statistics for eighteen teams in two leagues, especially during the three months when both leagues’ schedules overlapped.

But I kept my word.  And when the seasons ended, I told the owners of the PBL that I was proud of my association with them for the past five seasons, that the PBL was as much a part of my accomplishments as anything else I’ve ever achieved.  I wished them the best.

But it’s time for me to move on.  I look forward to the new season for the National Basketball League of Canada – which begins I believe in a few short months – and I look forward to working with the NBL-C to make that second season and subsequent seasons the best any sports fan can hope for.

As for the PBL – what is there to say?  Five years and lots of basketball excitement.  Great connections with players and owners and coaches and front office staff.  Appreciation for the dedication to the sport.  So many collectibles from my five years – jerseys, T-shirts, basketballs, game programs, a couple of awards from photographs taken – and in the end, there’s no bad feelings.  No sour exits.  No nasty breakups.  I consider the league’s owner and CEO, Severko Hrynwak, M.D., a supportive influence and a great mentor.

All the best for the PBL as it commences its 2012-13 season.  You’ll always have a fan in me.