I’m not real graceful to begin with, but all week I’ve kept tripping over this big pair of shoes sitting by the desk, left by the last guy who sat here.

Good thing I like thick socks.

Next week, the Osceola News-Gazette will feature its first sports section without the influence of longtime Sports Editor Rick Pedone since a Bush was the Vice President.

My hope is the biggest fans from his gallery — Arnie had his Army, Pedone darn sure had his People — won’t tell the difference, and that I won’t miss a beat putting our … I mean, you’re, … okay, their … bi-weekly sports section together.

To those who sent well-deserved notes of gratitude to Rick since closing out a 33-year career here with his retirement Monday, know that I have passed them along as I figure out the best way to keep the legacy alive.

And I saw plenty of it. If you’ve arrived in town recently, my original gig here in Osceola was in sports, and worked over a decade with Pedone before leaving briefly and returning to cover news in 2012. Some of the faces have changed on the sideline, but to me the game’s the same.

Rick had a real way around this place. There’s no sense fixing what’s not broken, so the style of this section won’t change much. The biggest difference won’t be in print but in social media. I’ll be dusting of an official sports Twitter feed — @OsceolaSports — I started circa 2010 and later used for photos until 2014.

I encourage all parents, players, coaches, administrators (and those of you at higher pay grades) to follow it. I’ll be using that to update what’s happening right now, post to our website (aroundosceola.com) to tell you what just happened, and the print product to say how it’ll affect the next big thing to come.

Even with that said, let me say this in advance: I’m very very, very sorry. I won’t be able to get to all the events I want to. Something great will happen and I’ll miss it. That’s where you come in, coaches and fans. Get in my ear. I don’t mind. Ask anybody in this building; I’ve got the gift of gab.

Geez, ask Rick if you see him, he’ll agree, yet he still recommended me for the job. I need to thank him and some other who have my back in this endeavor, such as Brian our editor and Matt our publisher. I also want to thank, and apologize in advance to, my wife Carrie (by the way, Happy Birthday honey!) and my two kids who will grow up way too fast, for understanding why I want to do this and the schedule that comes with it.

Rick and I are cut from the same cloth — it’s not about us, it’s about the athletes, mostly our high school kids, grandkids, friends, siblings and cousins. This is their space, which they’ve earned for all the practice and prep time they put in.

Next week we’ll be back to normal, I promise. We’ll pick some football games and get back to being fun and silly in this space again.

It feels great to be back. Can’t wait to see you guys at a game, or on the first tee, as I’m always up for throwing my clubs in the trunk.

Just let me go find my shoes.