Chris Bahn – So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye

It was with great interest that I sat down recently to visit with former Arkansas Razorback Jim Lindsey.

Lindsey, as most of you know, was part of the 1964 national championship team at Arkansas and went on to a brief, but successful professional football career. He’s recognized as a member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.

What has really impressed me about Lindsey through the years, though, is the success he found in real estate development. Lindsey Management has built and managed more than 37,000 apartment units in eight different states and Lindsey & Associates real estate firm is among the largest in Arkansas.

Discussing those business accomplishments with Lindsey didn’t appeal to me simply because I was interviewing him for an Arkansas Business story on the premiere of documentary about his life. There was more to it than that.

Athletes who redefine the idea of what success looks like in their lives have always resonated with me.

One of my favorite columns at allowed me to introduce readers to Dr. Jonathan Modica. Most folks knew him for his 37 points against South Carolina or for being the 12th leading scorer in Razorback history.

It was fascinating listening to Modica detail the decision he made to devote his energy to something outside of basketball. Modica wound up earning his doctorate from the UA, worked briefly in the college’s development office and last I knew Modica was in management with Sam’s Club.

Far too often you see guys hang on a little too long. They are so adverse to change, so plugged into a certain way of living that they miss out on opportunities to grow professionally and, most importantly, as people.

It bummed me out a few years go to learn a former first-round NBA Draft pick from Arkansas bailed on a local speaking engagement because the night before he received a call from a team in Guatemala or Belize or wherever. They had a roster spot, but only if he dropped everything and reported immediately and what struck me was the fact this guy, nearly 40, seemed to still be hanging onto the idea that his identity, his only worth, was tied up in sports.

There are countless other examples of guys who decided to reinvent themselves — athletes and otherwise — but Lindsey and Modica are particularly meaningful to me because I had the chance to share their stories with readers. Basketball was merely the beginning for Modica. Football wound up providing the seed money for Lindsey’s first real estate investment.

This week’s story on Lindsey wound up as the last one I’d write for Arkansas Business. I’m moving to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette where I’ll work as a business reporter with plans to write a weekly column focused on local business development in northwest Arkansas.

Making this move means that I’ll no longer be writing sports columns.

I can’t thank Simon Lee and the folks at Sporting Life Arkansas enough for providing this outlet for readers and allowing me to write these last eight months. I’m grateful for the freedom the folks at Arkansas Business Publishing Group gave me to continue dabbling in sports after I’m especially thankful ABPG provided me a shot at working for Arkansas Business and allowing me room to discover that, you know, this business writing thing just might work.

Stepping away from sports commentary isn’t easy for a guy who, beginning in elementary school, came home to read the local and statewide sports pages nearly every day. This bond that I’ve formed, the kinship I feel, with the sports-loving public in Arkansas is a very real thing.

As I continue to shift my attention beyond sports writing (I’ll still be watching and even have a tailgate spot for the first time in my life) it’s nice to have familiarity with the stories of guys like Lindsey and Modica. While I certainly would never compare my athletic ability, intellect or work ethic with either of those guys, I find some encouragement from the example they’ve set.

Success in life after sports(writing) really is possible.


Editor’s note: We are certainly going to miss Chris Bahn writing regularly about sports. We will miss Chris’ words as a publication and as readers. We have gotten used to checking in on what the guy has to say about the sports scene in Arkansas for the past several years. We are hoping we get glimpses of his thoughts on the world of sports by keeping up with Chris on twitter @cbahn.

Good luck, Chris, from all of us at Sporting Life Arkansas. You always have a sportswriting home here.

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