ALS will eventually end this outdoor news blog

After a lengthy period of constantly twitching muscles and lots of tests, my neurologist told me that I have ALS, Lou Gehrig’s illness.

As you may know, this is an illness in which the muscles slowly lose their strength. Eventually I may lose the ability to walk, breath, eat, and possibly even talk. This is most likely to occur over a 3 to 5 year period, but it could happen more rapidly. So far, other than the constant muscle twitching, I’ve lost a lot of strength in my fingers and hands, and over the past month, I’ve started to lose strength in my legs.

Eventually, ALS will bring an end to this outdoor news blog which I have written for the past 7 years. I’ve been thrilled by the response to this column, including an award in 2014 from the Maine Press Association for the state’s best sports blog.

I will continue to write for as long as I can. Daughter Rebekah bought me some software that types up your words as you speak them. I am really enjoying that process, and wish I’d gotten the software years ago.

And yes, I have lots more to write about!

After finding out I have ALS, in addition to tackling the obvious items of concern, from finances to medical care and insurance, I’ve refocused my life on the things that are most important: family and friends, especially.

If there is a lesson here for you, it is this: many of us clutter up our lives with things that are not all that important. I sure did. And you are welcome to join me in assessing how you spend your time, and perhaps refocusing on the most important things in your life.

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.