Welcome to Milwaukee! Welcome back to Milwaukee?
I wasn't sure quite how to feel about this, my first day as an OnMilwaukee.com staffer. I've lived in Wisconsin for two years, but never within the city limits. My wife has, however, so it was a second home to me for four years. I have great friends here, and places I frequent.
It has never felt like visiting, necessarily – rather, leaving and returning.
So, as I'm beginning the process of formally moving here full-time, it does feel a bit odd. It's new, but not really. It's definitely exciting, though.
This is my third go-round in acclimating into a new marketplace, but never into one as big as Milwaukee.
I was based in Naperville and Aurora (Illinois' second and third largest cities, or vice versa, depending on the census year), but of course I had to travel to Chicago to cover the major sports.
I can't count the days lost in the car commuting to venues in and around Chicago, but I can count the mileage on the two cars I've ever owned – 380,000 – so the prospect of being everywhere important (outside of Green Bay and Madison) within 20 minutes is completely foreign to me.
Needless to say, it's something I'm definitely looking forward to.
Like going to Miller Park yesterday – 10 minutes. Awesome.
OnMilwaukee.com Managing Editor Bobby Tanzilo introduced me to Brewers media relations coordinator Ken Spindler, who toured me around the press areas in the stadium.
Interestingly, being there was far more comfortable than apartment hunting over the weekend. A press box is a press box, sports are sports. One apartment is always different than another though, and the stress level was definitely higher there.
One-on-one with Tiger Woods? Been there, done that – with some laughs, even.
One-on-one with a landlord, looking for water damage while accidentally letting the resident's cat out of the house? Been there, done that – but it's twice as hard.
Fortunately, the housing situation should be finalized shortly and the process of moving will begin. It'll be a balancing act, but one I couldn't be happier to manage.
I look forward to getting to know everyone affiliated with the teams and colleges in the city, as well as all of you.
I know I was never "here," but I'm back, and looking forward to officially calling Milwaukee home.
Jim Owczarski is an award-winning sports journalist and comes to Milwaukee by way of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Network.
A three-year Wisconsin resident who has considered Milwaukee a second home for the better part of seven years, he brings to the market experience covering nearly all major and college sports.
To this point in his career, he has been awarded six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and projects. He is also a four-time nominee for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, presented by the Chicago Headline Club, and is a two-time winner for Best Sports Story. He has also won numerous other Illinois Press Association, Illinois Associated Press and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards.
Jim's career started in earnest as a North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) senior in 2002 when he received a Richter Fellowship to cover the Chicago White Sox in spring training. He was hired by the Naperville Sun in 2003 and moved on to the Aurora Beacon News in 2007 before joining OnMilwaukee.com.
In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.
Golf aficionados who venture into Illinois have also read Jim in GOLF Chicago Magazine as well as the Chicago District Golfer and Illinois Golfer magazines.