With apologies to John Lennon and Paul McCartney, it was a long and winding road that lead me to this door, the transition from one phase of life into another.
Along the way there were difficult stretches filled with ruts and rocks, making it seem almost impossible to keep going. But, as it always is in life, by continuing to put one foot in front of the other, no matter how small the step, those patches were eventually put behind me.
The passing of Chuck DiRocco 14 years ago was one of those spots. Having mostly handled the operations end of the business, it was a giant leap to take over the entire company. Chuck was, after all, the very heart and soul of GamingToday.
But during the process of sorting things out, I found a treasure trove of loyal hard working employees who stood behind me, supported me and helped me get over one of the most difficult chapters in my life. Without them it would not have been possible to keep GamingToday alive and moving forward.
Lori Lewis, who has been with me for nearly 30 years, Richard Saber and Mark Mayer have given heart and soul to this newspaper and helped make it a must read for sports bettors and casino patrons. And of course Ray Poirier, who retired three years ago at the tender age of 83, stuck with me and helped my transition greatly with his support, counseling and mentoring of newsroom personnel.
Amelia Stets, Hunter Lewis, Alan Berg, Kathleen Broecker, Jaimee Shapira and Gabrielle Reisler, who all came onboard in the last ten years have proven their worth many times over, stepping up to the plate whenever asked.
In addition to some of the best employees a person could have, I had a wonderful supporting cast that was put together by Chuck – Mike Aloian, CPA, Nick Santoro, attorney, and Dave Mason, realtor. These men went over and above many times to help me with all aspects of business and never once failed to answer my call. They have been much more than business associates, they are true friends.
And of course GamingToday would be nothing without its writers. Some like Dennis Ball and the late Joe Chevalier, John Bennett and Huey Mahl were here almost from the start. Others like Andy Iskoe, Micah Roberts, Jim Feist, Noland Parry, Phil Hevener, Nick Pellegrino, Scot Krause, Elliot Frome (who succeeded his late father Lenny Frome), Scotty Schettler, Bob Harvey and Bob Christ came over the years.
Other writers include Baird Thompson, Bill Krackomberger, Brady Kannon, Chris Andrews, Chris Ororke, Dave Dye, Dave Valento, George Epstein, Jon Lindo, Steve Davidowitz, Marco D’Angelo, Robert Turner, Patricia Chavira, Pesach Kremen, Ramon Scott, Sheldon Smith, Tony Mejia, Ian Cameron, The Analyst and Monti Rock.
Their columns all helped give GamingToday its character.
Then there are all the many wonderful memories. Over the years there were trips to the Kentucky Derby, the Super Bowl, the NCAA Final Four and other major sporting events. Most people never get to see one of these major events much less dozens. The excitement, the camaraderie, the great victory celebrations are things I will never forget.
Another bright spot was the shows. I got to see some of the top entertainers – Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Barbara Streisand, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles… and the list goes on. What a fabulous town this is for entertainment. As Sinatra would say, my kind of town.
Of course, one of the most gratifying highlights was our loyal readers. It was heartwarming to get their emails, letters and phone calls telling me how much they enjoy reading GamingToday, how happy they are with the great customer service they received from the employees or how insightful they thought a particular article was. Often those missives arrived just when I needed a little shot of positive karma, which made them even more special.
Sure, there were a few grumblers, mostly complaining about the postal service delivering their weekly copy of the paper late, but they usually were happy once they found out who Denny the Dog picked that week or what the Bookies Battle consensus was.
Over the years I had a front row seat watching Las Vegas grow from a small town to a major city. The Strip seemed to explode from one end to the other. We saw hotels implode and new spectacular resorts arise. We attended grand openings, special events, over the top New Year’s celebrations and more.
And without a doubt the brightest spot of all was finding husband Ron Berger right here at GamingToday for nearly 30 years. I couldn’t ask for a more hard working, supportive, kind, loving person to be my partner in business and in life.
But the question everyone asks is one I don’t really have an answer to. What’s next, they say, what will you do now?
There are no firm plans. I still have a parlay card business to run with my partner Robert Mann and there are four beautiful dogs at home dying to get more attention from me. Other than that, we’ll see what comes along. However, one thing I know for sure, drawing from Sinatra again, the best is yet to come.
See you around town.