Radio host Zach Clark

We’ve all taken different paths to the Old Pueblo. Mine came after a turbulent end to my high school years in suburban Detroit, run-ins with the law, failed attempts at college and dead-end jobs.

My path out of Tucson will take me back home. My wife, whom I love dearly, is climbing her career ladder and doing it quickly. It is taking us back to my native Michigan.

My last show on ESPN Radio is Tuesday.

The only thing that has changed more than Tucson in the last 11 years is yours truly.

I arrived here at the age of 22 in 2007 lost, even though I knew exactly where I was. I just didn’t know who I was. I didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere. I didn’t feel like there was a career path that suited me. On my very first day on the University of Arizona’s campus, my advisor asked if I had considered student radio. The minute I walked into the KAMP Student Radio Station, my life changed forever. I’ve never looked back.

I very quickly became smitten with not only Tucson but the lovely people that make this community so amazing.

I mean, how could I not forever cherish a place where I graduated from college, something that once seemed like an impossible feat? The place where my wife and I promised forever to one another? And, most importantly, the place where she and I welcomed our beautiful son, Beckett?

People are the foundation of my love affair with Tucson, and the life-blood of my daily radio show.

I’m not talking about Lute Olson or Chuck Cecil or Terry Francona; I mean the listeners who took time out of their day to hear what I had to say, whether they agreed with me or not. The people that would come to remotes or stop me in the grocery store just to chat.

I am leaving out of sheer love for my family. When I came back to work here in 2013, I was married to the radio. Now I am married to Carrie and we have the daily joy of being parents. That’s what comes first. But you, Tucson, you will always have a place up high in the order of my life.

Prior to moving to Tucson, I always felt the struggle of fitting in. One of the wonders of this community is that to fit in, all you have to do is embrace the roots and traditions that make this place one of a kind. I have felt the embrace of all of you since Day 1.

Tucson is something that seeps into you, though maybe not as harshly as the desert monsoon. (But that smell of creosote, right?)

I am not a native. I did not grow up here. That has never mattered to any of you. I’ve been accepted as one of your own. In one way or another, I will always be a Tucsonan.

A piece of my heart will remain buried underneath the caliche and cacti that adorn “A” Mountain. Can somebody be a pal and periodically send me a Sonoran hot dog and a watermelon Eegee?

Zach Clark’s final show is Tuesday. He can be reached at pxpforhire@gmail.com.