Eventually, you have to grow up.

Up to this point, my whole professional life has revolved around sports. The "toy department" in journalism jargon. That meant late nights of talkin' touchdowns. Or points. Or runs. You name it.

And the appealing part of sports is taking on a new challenge. And for me, that challenge means leaving sports.

And it's a challenge I'm more than ready for.

To bring you readers up to speed, I'm Joe Brown, the new regional editor at RiverTown Multimedia. After spending my 20s in sports departments in college at St. Cloud State and professionally at the St. Cloud Times, Marshall Independent and Red Wing Republican Eagle, something closer to a 9-to-5 is how I want to spend my 30s.

I've been at the new job since Jan. 22. Truth be told, this whole "early to bed, early to rise" thing has been a tough transition. And I'm not quite used to seeing the sun during work hours.

The settings are going to be different. I won't be in high-school gyms as often, but the settings of towns such as Cottage Grove, Woodbury, Hastings, Farmington and Rosemount are places I feel comfortable in.

Growing up in a first-ring suburb of Fridley, I'm all but familiar with life in a city in the shadows of Minneapolis and St. Paul. And I know how tough it can be when outsiders value your town based on its proximity to "The Cities."

But if working across Minnesota taught me anything, every town, no matter the location, has its own identity. And showcasing that uniqueness across the eastern part of this state is something I look forward to doing for you readers.

Yes, in a way, it's time to grow up. I'm trading in football and basketballs for more board meetings. It'll be tougher to learn people's names without having numbers on jerseys to help out.

That's OK. There are still good stories to tell around here. And I can't wait to share them with you.