From the press box: One last time and with gratitude

Welcome to "From the Press Box", where Raw Charge's reluctant-yet-enthusiastic correspondent in the Amalie Arena press box, Clark Brooks, takes you behind the scenes of the exciting world of watching hockey from the rafters for the purpose of writing articles about it.

The best thing about having a team-issued credential to cover the Lightning is that I'm a Lightning fan, and I like to believe that being a credentialed member of the media allows me to be an ambassador on behalf of fellow fans who will never get to experience the game of hockey that way. Through this weekly column, I've tried to share peeks behind the magical media curtain with you. Today, it’s time to clean out this locker.

Well, the season is over for the Tampa Bay Lightning and thus endeth my timeth up in the prethth box until next year.

In the spirit of this column, I actually wrote this from my assigned seat in a dark and lonely Amalie Arena press box, looking down on an empty floor scraped clean of ice. That’s kind of sadly romantic, isn’t it? I hope so, because there are no snacks up here and it’s a little creepy. The sooner I get finished writing this, the sooner I can go downstairs and eat a granola bar.

The 2016-17 season was a lot of fun, wasn’t it? Oh, don’t be like that; of course it was. Even on the bad nights (*cough cough*), it was still Lightning hockey and therefor, at least a little more fun than most other activities.

It’s been a lot of fun writing this weekly column, too. It was cool to have the freedom to go off in different directions. Sometimes serious, sometimes silly. Silly more often than not. Okay, almost always silly (I have more than one gear, but silly is my favorite).

It’s not often writers who work on behalf of someone else are allowed the freedom to do almost anything they want, and for that I have to thank Achariya, head-editor-in-charge of the ‘Charge. I actually left Raw Charge for about 20 minutes or so last summer but she brought me back. I have to give myself credit for the uncharacteristic wisdom I demonstrated in accepting that invitation.

Also thanks to all the other writers on staff here at Raw Charge, cranking out content at an almost alarming rate.

Without this turning into an awards show, I also need to thank Bill Wickett, Brian, Trevor and the whole Lightning communications staff, with a special shout-out to Jan Porter who serves as defacto Den Mother to everyone in the press box.

Saving the best and most important for last, Thank You, readers of Raw Charge. As stated in this column’s lede every single week, I’m a Lightning fan just like you and through good fortune a little hard work and mostly dumb blind luck I’m here on your behalf. My aim every time I produce something for this site is nothing less than to entertain and inform you. I sincerely consider that not only a responsibility but a privilege. Thank you for granting me that indulgence and I hope I have the opportunity (because that’s what it is) to continue working for you here at Raw Charge for many years to come.

So what’s next? I’m not sure. The “from the press box” concept has run its course. We’ll figure something out and go from there.

See you real soon.

(If you want to keep in touch in the meantime, there’s info here about where and when I’m doing stuff.)