Farewell column: Blank space

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I’m going to be as open and honest about this as I can. I don’t want to write this column. It’s not that I don’t want my own Daily Cal farewell column — I know that a year or two or three from now, I’ll regret it if I don’t write one, so that’s why I’m writing it. It’s just that now that I’m sitting down to actually fill the blank space on my computer screen, I have nothing to say.

I thought I wanted to write this column; I’ve imagined writing this column for a while now. When I was the sports editor in spring and edited Seung’s farewell column, I did less editing and more imagining of what I would conjure up when it was my time to go. Well, it’s my time to go now. I’ve just filed my last football feature. I graduate in two weeks, so I guess this is goodbye.

I’m not sure why saying goodbye in 620 words is so damn difficult right now. After all, I should have pages worth of material.

The Daily Cal has been my life since the beginning of sophomore year. I’ve been an editor. I’ve covered the Cal women’s tennis team for a season and the softball team and football team each for two seasons. The first football game I ever covered started with Sonny Dykes’ ballsy fake field-goal call. I can still remember slowly standing up as the play unfolded, my mouth agape. Of course, the first football season I covered was Cal’s 1-11 season, so there’s that. But the next year, I was able to witness Connor Halliday breaking the NCAA record for passing yards in a game. Not many people can say that.

But those are just cool stories and memories. They don’t really take on any sort of extra meaning or offer any sort of deep conclusion, which I think is supposed to be the point of a farewell column.

There are a lot of people I’ve thought of when I tried over and over again to fill this space. People whom I won’t soon forget. I could go on forever about those people and the impact they’ve had on me. But there’s no point in me actually going name by name and telling all of them how much they mean to me. I hope they already know that, just like how I know the people I’m leaving behind at the newspaper — the people tasked with running the show now — will do absolutely anything to achieve their goals. Trust me, I’ve learned that first hand.

But I already knew all of that. I didn’t have to write it down on paper to gain that understanding. So where does that leave me? Still searching for that deeper meaning.

I guess there is this: Before I joined the Daily Cal at the beginning of my sophomore year, I wasn’t entirely happy at UC Berkeley. It didn’t feel like home. The Daily Cal gave me that feeling — a sense of belonging. It introduced me to my passion and — hopefully — my future career. I spent my entire junior year editing at the sports desk and staring at a computer screen for hours on end and eating at the same damn restaurants every day and barely passing my classes and not doing any homework and not sleeping, and it was the best year of my life. That has to mean something. Maybe in a year or two or three or four, I’ll finally figure out what it all meant, and I’ll finally reach some sort of deeper conclusion about my time spent in the press box and at the sports desk.

For now, all I’ll say is this: I appreciate the Daily Cal. Without it, I’m not sure who I’d be today. And for that, I’m thankful.

Sean Wagner-McGough was the sports editor in spring 2014. Contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @seanjwagner.

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