My name is Rob Gray and I am excited to be joining the Cyclone Fanatic team this fall.
You may know me through my work as am Iowa State correspondent for the Cedar Rapids Gazette.
You may not, too.
Either way, this is my introductory column.
Seems like a good idea.
You see, I want to get to know you.
The collective “you.”
I want to know what you want to read, learn, explore when it comes to the stories that surround Iowa State athletics — from the obvious “news of the day” to the seemingly obscure elements that often lead to deeper insights.
I know, from my long-standing friendship with CF publisher Chris Williams, that you are smart, savvy, sometimes snarky (which is cool!), and always loyal to your school, your teams, and this site.
So it goes without saying (but not without typing) that it will be a privilege being a part of this robust and very special community of ISU fans.
A litte bit about me (hang in there, I can meander):
1. I was born and raised in Ames. I once was part of a game of 21 with Fred Hoiberg (and roughly 20 others). Fred won, of course. I remember getting second, whether I really did or not. It was a long time ago.
2. I wanted to leave Ames and did. I went to (deep breath) the University of Iowa and had a good time. I graduated, but didn’t put my film degree to work.
3. I traveled. A lot. I backpacked in Belize, Guatemala and Honduras for five months. I learned to scuba dive. I climbed a volcano. I later taught English in Prague, Czech Republic. Great times. I learned a lot about myself. Still, I yearned to come home.
4. I returned to Ames. I enrolled at ISU. I re-engaged my dream of learning to become a journalist. Given my previous undergrad degree at that other university, I graduated in 18 months and began working at the Register.
5. I married. Kids became part of my life’s equation. I needed a change, so left the Register and took a media relations job with the Iowa Speedway. Didn’t work out. I needed to help tell the stories from the outside, not spin them from within (which is no slight to the PR industry. It’s important, just not for me). So the Gazette’s correspondent job came next. Great people at the Gazette, but another change was coming.
6. So here I am — thrilled to be part of this venture. I’m extremely impressed by the fact that all the content remains free. That says a lot about the site’s owners, Chris Williams, the valued advertisers and, of course, all of you.
Bottom line: I’m stoked about this, but enough about me.
My job will be to help convey the stories that matter to you.
Plain. Simple. True.