Yes, it’s me, Mike Ramczyk.
That’s pretty much my personality.
I like to laugh, have fun, talk to people and write funny. Or at least try.
I just turned 40 in June (Gemini, get up!), I’ve been married to my lovely Twin Lakes native (Nippersink, ring a bell?) Erin for 11 years (together 19), and we have two beautiful and entertaining, intelligent and sometimes boring children, Coraline, 8, and Roman, 3.
It’s not necessarily a packed house, but there’s enough chaos to go around here in Burlington.
As I sit and write this on a sunny summer morning at my “desk” at the dining room table, Coraline and Roman are in full-fledged strong mode at 10 a.m.
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The four sectional cushions formed a comfortable U-shaped fortress on the living room floor in front of the TV, and Cora has already asked for a suction cup twice, and I said no twice.
My life right now is a new sportsman replacing LEGENDARY Michael Johnson at the News, plus a full-time stay-at-home dad when my wife works her first shift at Rockwell Automation.
We often joke that I’m not even the best writer in house, because Erin crushes it as the marketing writer for her international company.
Then there’s me talking about children’s forts.
Well, at least others said my work was good sometimes.
I couldn’t have gotten this job without the ringing endorsement of Johnson, a colleague and friend of mine over the past 15 years in journalism.
I’ve been writing freelance for Mike for the past 3 years since 2019.
Plus, Peter Jackel, our company’s “de facto” sportswriter, is a 40-year-old treasure at the Racine Journal-Times. He worked with me on some KN stuff last summer, and I had the privilege of covering Racine Raiders games with him this summer.
Peter and Mike are always positive, always had nice things to say about me, and loved working with me. I loved working with them.
And now, hello, dream come true, I’m working directly with Peter.
Peter is one of those writers that I’ve looked up to all my life, and when you read anything from him, you just can’t imagine ever being able to write something that good.
I like being able to choose his brain anytime I want now.
And I’m sure you News readers loved Michael Johnson, who was with the News for about 14 years, I believe, and still lives in Kenosha with his wife and son.
Let me tell you who Mike really is as a human being.
In December 2018, Michael and Dan Truttschel and others from Kenosha News’ athletic department were there for me in my darkest time of need.
My mother, Joni Ramczyk, had just passed away on December 27, 2018, and she was my best friend. My children and I still visit his grave at St. Kilian in Lake Geneva a few times a month.
You never get over the loss of a mother. No one loves you more than your mother, and no love is deeper than this connection.
As I walked into the funeral home for the wake, trying to hold back my tears as old video montages of our favorite times played, I saw an outpouring of support in the form of flowers from various members. of family and friends.
At the time, I was the sports editor for the Southern Lakes Newspapers, and Johnson and I only got to know each other sporadically from covering games or tournaments together occasionally over the past 10 years.
We always helped each other with stories, if we needed information or someone’s contact details.
So you can imagine how surprised I was when I saw a large and lovely green flowerpot from the “Kenosha News Sports Department” waiting for my family.
Wow, talk about condolences.
Then I was fired at SLN three months after my mother passed away, and on June 19 (2 days after my birthday) 2019, I was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer.
In short, I thought I was going to die. Who wouldn’t?
I’ve written so much about my cancer journey that I don’t want to go into crazy detail again, but I will say that I had to have surgery July 18th to remove the tumor, my wife’s waters have broke out 5 weeks early the NEXT DAY, and my son Roman was born the next day.
With me at Froedtert in Milwaukee in a hospital bed recovering, still thinking I was going to die, Roman was born – not breathing, Apgar score 1, and had to be rushed to NICU .
So on the night of July 20, 2019, Roman was incubated at the Women’s Pavilion in West Allis, I was in Froedtert, and Mom spent the night at Lakeland in Elkhorn.
Roman was transferred to Children’s Hospital a month later and remained there for a long, grueling and painful 70 days.
He underwent major surgery to repair a fistula.
When we finally got home, people showed more love and support with a benefit in October, and this newspaper, the Journal-Times and the Regional News told the story of our journey to help support the advantage.
We raised $20,000 in one night.
So thank you all.
I started chemotherapy in August 2019 and Johnson gave me work. He started giving me games to cover for the news, and it really kept my spirit alive and made me want to keep fighting.
In March 2020, I was done with chemo and there was no trace of cancer left in my body.
I can’t “pop champagne” until June 2024, and I’m having blood work every 3 months, and liquid biopsies, which are always scary, but I’m fine.
I’m alive, I’m healthy and I’m lucky.
It’s stuff like this that made me SO HAPPY to be here with you now.
My very first freelance gig for a daily newspaper was with sportswriter Dave Marran and the Kenosha News, the Pleasant Prairie Triathlon, in 2005, and I loved the newspaper and, more importantly, the people who have worked here since.
I had the opportunity to join the team as a part-time sportsman in 2015, but things just didn’t work out.
I have sometimes kicked myself since then wondering if I had made the right choice.
Well, with me I can promise passion, love and devotion to sports in the region.
I have a journalism degree from UW-Whitewater, and have covered my passion for the past 20 years, and now the Kenosha News and Racine Journal-Times are two other newsrooms I’ve written in , with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Burlington Standard Press, Lake Geneva Regional News and Southern Lakes Newspapers.
So when it comes to high school sports in Southeast Wisconsin, you could say I know pretty much everyone.
But I’m also excited for the new challenge of getting to know Kenosha, enjoying Lake Michigan, catching a Kingfish game someday, and maybe going to some of my other favorite spots like the Boat House, the Spot and the Brat Stop.
Feel free to call me (262-210-3617) with a story idea, or just say hello. I really enjoy meeting new people and getting to know all the families involved in sport and outside of sport.
Please also email me at [email protected].
It’s really the perfect fit, I think, a place where I’ve always wanted to be the sportsman, and it really happened.
Mike Ramczyk is a sports reporter for the Kenosha News.