There comes a point in every man's life when he sits back, puts his feet up on the desk and thinks: How can I get a gig doing something I love that involves no heavy lifting?
Ladies and gentlemen, I have found that gig.
So let's get the introductions out of the way first, shall we?
The name is Kevin Cowherd, and after years of writing a features column for The Baltimore Sun, I switch over today to writing a sports column.
Actually, this is my second time with this gig - I was a sports columnist with The Evening Sun from 1981 to 1987.
I know, I know ... that's like 200 years ago.
But I wrote about the Orioles and Colts, Maryland hoops and football, the Blast, all of it. I got to know what was important to Baltimore sports fans. And I covered the big events, too: the Super Bowls, World Series, Olympic Games and the rest.
Look, Earl Weaver spit on my loafers the first time I interviewed him in the Orioles dugout.
And I was ringside at a heavyweight fight in which Ernie Terrell hit an opponent so hard that the guy's bloody mouthpiece flew through the ropes and landed on my reporter's notebook.
I picked it up the way you'd pick up a used Kleenex and handed it to the referee, who stuck it back in the mouth of the stiff Terrell was clobbering. The stiff was sent off to dream land with a thunderous right hook seconds later.
So I've paid my dues, Jack.
Now I'm getting up to speed again on the O's and Ravens, the Fridge and sunny Gary Williams down in College Park, and the rest of the local sports scene. Give me a few months and we'll go out for a beer and you can test me.
And look at the added bonus for you the reader: Now I team with Peter Schmuck to give you the two goofiest names in all of sportswriting.
Schmuck & Cowherd - it sounds like a Yiddish livestock company. You couldn't make that up if you tried.
(And no, I'm not related to the guy on ESPN Radio, Colin Cowherd. Never met him. Never listened to his talk show. I heard he once told an irate caller to "Just grab an ice pick and jam it in your retina." The man's definitely got a way with words.)
So what can you expect when you open the sports pages or click on baltimoresun.com and I'm there bloviating about something?
Hard to say, actually. I hope to surprise you most days.
One thing I can tell you: I'm not big on statistics.
String together a couple of sentences like this - "Jeremy Guthrie is 1-1 in day games with a 4.50 ERA and 1-2 in night games with a 5.20 ERA" - and that's it, I'm out like I swigged a bottle of Robitussin.
I'm not big on a whole lot of game analysis, either. Let Mike Preston break down the intricacies of the Ravens' offensive line play or the cover-2 defense or who screwed up a zone blitz. He knows way more about it than I do, that's for sure.
No, what's always fascinated me most about sports are the people who play them.
How do they respond to challenges? How do they handle success or failure?
How do they stay sane in the increasingly insane and pressurized environment that has come to characterize all sports - even at the high school level?
I want to know how Dave Trembley can sit in the dugout night after night, serene as a Buddha, and watch the pitching blow up without his head exploding.
I want to know why Williams still sweats through his suits and can't manage a smile during a game after all his success with the Terps.
If super filly Rachel Alexandra wins the Preakness on Saturday, I want to know what jockey Calvin Borel was thinking during the whole glorious gallop around the track, with 100,000 people screaming into the evening air.
Here's the best thing about writing sports: The people who read you are passionate about the games they love.
And they don't hesitate to let you know what they think of your column - often in the colorful language of the Internet rant.
So I look forward to your calls and e-mails, even the ones that begin: "Hey moron, what are you thinking?" or "I picked up the daily fishwrap and turned to the vast, yawning gap that is your column, only to discover the usual turgid dissertation. Why don't you shut up and die?"
It's nice to be back in the game.