Mike Guardabascio with his wife Sharleen Higa and their two kids, Maya, 8, and Vinny, 10.

Hi, I’m Mike.

All writers hate doing introduction stories, me included, so I’ll be brief. I’m starting a new column here at the Long Beach Post. It will run a few times a month and will cover current events and breaking news as well as life in Long Beach from the perspective of a young family.

My wife and I were both born and raised here; she’s been a high school English teacher in the Long Beach Unified School District for the last decade, and I’ve been a sportswriter covering local sports since 2007 (a rewarding and winding career that actually began here at the Post with my longtime writing partner JJ Fiddler).

My wife and I never moved out of our hometown, yet we’re raising our two kids (fifth and second graders) in a very different city than the one we grew up in. Long Beach has grown and changed a lot over our four decades of life here, in some ways beautiful and much-needed, and in other ways heartbreaking.

I’m interested in those changes and how they affect the culture of our city and the quality of life for people who live here. I’m also interested in writing from the perspective of a young family in a city that was built around the idea of raising kids, a city where education has been the leading industry for most of my life.

I regularly have conversations with friends in my generation that I don’t often see represented in our local media scene, and I’m excited to bring a new voice.

If you’ve seen my name recently in the Post it may have been as their education reporter for the last few years. I’ve also been fortunate to work as a sportswriter in Long Beach for 16 years, one of the few jobs that leads into every corner of the city, through every neighborhood, and to deep conversations about family and life with every kind of person in the city.

I’m excited to continue telling their stories in this new format, and to shine a light on people and places in Long Beach who might otherwise have gone unnoticed.

Do you have a person or topic that deserves to be noticed? Email me at [email protected].

Long Beach Bites

Not every story worth telling is the length of a column, of course, so I’ll also be dropping notes at the bottom of each piece on things I’m hearing, experiences I’ve had, or restaurants my family has visited.

The Long Beach Marathon was last weekend. As usual, some of my friends went out to the race route to cheer on runners, some of my friends were running, but the majority of my friends were on social media complaining about street closures and parking. I get the complaints, but also, to borrow a line from JJ—Long Beach is a real city, and real cities occasionally host events like marathons that lead to Los Angeles-like traffic.

My family paid a post-baseball game visit to the newly-opened District 4 Pizza in East Long Beach last week, in the spot where Ecco’s used to be. The place was packed, we ran into a half-dozen people we knew, and there were kids running around like crazy checking out their arcade. It felt like the Long Beach I grew up in, where postgame visits to Cirivello’s or Ecco’s or Straw Hat were every kid’s favorite part of being on a soccer or baseball team.