Life as I know it: This column is part of an award-winning package

Allison Batdorff, The Record-Eagle, Traverse City, Mich.
·3 min read

Apr. 11—As a kid younger than 10 years old, I entered a coloring contest at a local grocery store. It was a rather simple picture, as I recall; little more than a dog chewing on a bone. Anyway, imagine my surprise a couple of weeks later when I was awarded first place. Turned out that I was the only entrant in the contest, but who cares about that detail.

Five years ago, the company that I'd owned and operated for more than 20 years was nominated for the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce small business of the year award. Turns out somebody that worked for us had done the nominating and no, I was not surprised that we did not win that contest.

Beyond the coloring contest and that business nomination, "Rob Ford" and "award-winning" have rarely been mentioned in the same sentence.

Perhaps you noticed last month that this very newspaper, the Traverse City Record-Eagle, was named 2020 newspaper of the year, in its size class, by the Michigan Press Association. As an every other week contributor to this award -inning cause, I typed that sentence with more than a little bit of satisfaction.

Having spent the last couple decades submitting my collective thoughts to a variety of local papers, I tell you that even the supporting players in an award-winning production should feel that way.

Unlike coloring contests and contests that allow self nominations, journalism is very competitive. Anyone having won an award in this field knows that they've bested some pretty stiff competition. And to date, here is a list of writing related awards that I've won over the years.

1) (line intentionally left blank)

That's right, my prose has never taken any prize. Having said that though, please understand that every submission that you've read of mine comes with pride. Pride that this writer has found a topic, the thoughts, and the words to compose an interesting, light, and true column. If not award-worthy, at least it is your time and attention worthy. Accomplishing that is an award unto itself.

In fairness, I don't know how the award process works for contributing writers and I've never taken the time to find out. Does everything that gets printed get judged? Is there someplace I need to individually send things? Do I need to join the association? Only since I've written for the Record-Eagle have I even been aware that awards are handed out. That explains why the subject of winning only crosses my mind each year when the announcement comes out congratulating the recipients. Of course, it crosses my mind without looking and crashes into the other idle thoughts in this paragraph.

Lucky for me then that the team at the Record-Eagle, from its publisher, editors, reporters, advertising sales staff, press operators, and down the list of employees to my fellow contributing writers took care of business and received their proper statewide recognition. Publishing such a quality product in an environment that often seems more bent on destroying and belittling its mere existence than appreciating it is no small feat. And no, I don't say that just in hopes of getting an enhanced head shot or future front-page placement.

In fact, I doubt that making me a de facto first-time journalistic award winner even entered any of their minds when the announcement was made.

That idea looked both ways as it crossed mine.

Contact Rob Ford at