Nearly seven years ago, I came to the Kennebec Journal as a young(er) reporter looking for a fresh start in a state that provided what my native Massachusetts couldn’t: A more tranquil pace of life.

It was a welcomed retreat after living in the shadows of Boston for more years than I care to admit.

Sure, the close proximity to the city had its perks — Fenway Park trips were plentiful, for example — but the experience had its fair share of bang-your-head-against-wall moments.

Too many of them, actually.

The trip to Maine — and ultimately the Kennebec Journal — was the latest in a string of moves that punctuated my last decade.

Massachusetts. Connecticut. Massachusetts, again. I bounced around from paper to paper, covering everything from Little League to professional sports.

Each city or town felt more like a stop than a destination, a staging ground for the next move.

Everything changed in Maine.

It’s here where I finally feel home. It’s here where I no longer think about my next move. It’s where I went to school (University of Maine) and where the second of my two children was born.

It’s also here where I pay more in heating costs, but, as the wife says, that’s part of the trade-off.

I came to the KJ in the fall 2007.

It was an interesting year.

The iPhone had debuted in January and, as Apple co-founder Steve Jobs correctly predicted, the device quickly revolutionized the industry. The Red Sox were on their way to winning a second World Series title in four years, a remarkable feat considering the organization’s history of failure. You could still buy gas at under $3 a gallon. Justin Bieber and his mother also started positing videos of the singer’s performances online, making them available to anyone, anywhere.

Good times.

At the paper, I became a part of a hard-working, dedicated and talented staff that took pride in good work.

Now, seven years later, I hope to continue this momentum as sports editor of the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel.

We’ve done a lot of good work over the years, and for that I am proud.

I also know we can, and should, do more.

And we will.

There are stories out there that need to be shared. There are stories out there whose impact can be far-reaching and profound.

We’ll find them, and we’ll share them.

We’ve long maintained that local sports is our primary focus, and that won’t change. It can’t change.

We will continue to watch and report the triumphs, heartbreaks and draws that high school athletes experience on a near-daily basis.

You will see us on fields, as well as in gyms, courts, rinks, tracks, slopes and pools — and anywhere else local athletes will compete.

We will be there, ready and eager to share what we see.

In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to share with us your stories. Come and share with us the extraordinary, the unique, the stories that need to be shared.

We’ll listen.

Bill Stewart — 621-5618 bstewart@centralmaine.com Twitter: @billstewartMTM