Here we are and haven’t we come far? We’re older, maybe even wiser. In some places we’re softer and in other places hairier. We’re 10 years old, you and me — this column to be precise.

At 10, we should be making fart noises and tormenting our sisters, but instead we’re here reflecting on a full decade of columns. We’ve done a lot in 10 years, made people laugh, cry, cringe and seethe. At times, readers have been furious, disappointed, disheartened, bewildered, frustrated, entertained, fascinated, pleased and elated with us.

For all of it, we’re thankful.

It hasn’t been easy, writing a column mostly every week for 10 straight years. We’re proud enough to admit we struggled more times than not to come up with a topic and to express our opinion on that topic sufficiently and poetically. The columns directly following Sept. 11, 2001 were particularly deep, and every once in a while we have to go read them again to get perspective on what life’s really all about.

Over the years we’ve been cynical and optimistic, snarky and affable, boring and intriguing. We’ve written stories about some very strong-willed people: a kid hit by a car, a kid with cancer, a coach with a serious disease, just to name a few. We also once wrote an entire column with just one word: “Cubs.”

We’re pretty certain that over the years we’ve been inserted into picture frames, crumpled up and used to line the birdcage, and/or to wash windows. Once we were even printed on a T-shirt and someone sent us the T-shirt. We still have that T-shirt, but we don’t wear it.

Through all of it, we’re glad to have served a purpose.

We’ve written through some rough times: funerals, layoffs, and maybe even a hangover or five. We’ve revealed some things about ourselves, which means we have more or less name-dropped probably a bit too much. (You see, we went to high school with White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko and Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell … oh, we already told you that?)

We’ve written about all kinds of sports, from Bozkushi to Jingly Balls (or more appropriately, Ladderball). We’ve stood next to Greg Maddux in the Cubs dugout before he was to pitch against Roger Clemens. We’ve spent wedding anniversaries at high school baseball state tournaments. We’ve seen, among a zillion sports highlights, a freshman hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to win a game at Marshall High School in Chicago. She went on to star at Georgetown University. It’s one of our fondest memories.

Because of it all, we’re now suffering from writer’s block — hence this 10-year retrospective, which is in first person plural because a column doesn’t exist until we have both a writer and a reader.

But really, [insert fart noise]. And thanks for reading or pretending to for the last decade. Happy holidays!

In the next few weeks, I plan on running a few of my favorite columns, not only to commemorate the 10-year anniversary, but to give my brain some vacation time.

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Brad Spencer

Brad Spencer has been covering sports in and around Oak Park for more than a decade, which means the young athletes he once covered in high school are now out of college and at home living with their parents...