This column is not about me. I mean, it is, in the sense that my face is hovering above these words and my name just below it. It is in the sense that I’m engaging in the most egregious form of navel-gazing, that of the explicit variety. But this very specific genre of column, the “former sports editor waves goodbye to their desk,” is never about the writer. It’s about who and what brought the writer to the point that he has served four years on the desk, covered football and thrown far too many hours into fitting a gameday feature into the arbitrary InDesign inch count.
These columns always carry a subtle confidence, and that’s because the Daily Cal sports desk is a kickass desk. It feels necessary to thank those who brought us here, because once the ink dries on this last piece, we go on to do dope shit. Every farewell columnist since I joined this paper in the fall of 2011 is getting paid to write for a living, and that fact in itself is probably the most important to me of all. The very fact that I’m following in the footsteps of all of these awesome people tells me one thing: I can do this too. And because of that, I want to dedicate the rest of this column to the people who’ve made that possible.
So I’ll start with Jack and Gabe, who intimidated the shit out of me when I joined. You guys walked around the Eshleman offices like you owned the place, talking about covering football practice like it was nothing. But because of your DeCal, I learned that reading voraciously is just as important as writing. More than anything, I’ve been inspired by your respective career paths — Gabe, working at Sports Illustrated, and Jack, covering UCLA for the LA Daily News. Seeing you guys succeed makes me feel like I have a chance in this brutal industry.
And Kupe, obviously, I owe pretty much everything to you for hiring me in the first place. I probably freaked you and Christina out with my extreme passion, but I’m glad you guys took a chance on me, anyway. You put up with my stupid ledes and idiotic first feature and encouraged me to keep experimenting, keep tweaking, and I am eternally thankful to you for never getting tired of me asking you question after question when I knew absolutely nothing about doing this.
Annie, I’ll always be appreciative of how hard you pushed me on my features. You wouldn’t let me settle for mediocrity, and never half-assed an editing session. I don’t think I’d be nearly be the writer I am without your help.
Sarah and J.D., your leadership was incomparable. Thank you for allowing me to use Death Cab For Cutie lyrics as graphic heads, and thank you for being two of the coolest people I know. I couldn’t have asked for a better EIC and ME.
Seung, Riley and Sean, I’ll never stop asking for your help on my work. I hope that’s OK.
Seems to me the Daily Cal’s changed a lot since my first days in Eshleman. We’re in a completely new office on the other side of the campus. New regimes bring new ideas, and the place I revered as a freshman now feels like it’s in my rearview mirror. I hope one thing never changes about this place — those with a passion for journalism keep showing up, keep pushing one another, keep with it until the point they send themselves off with a sappy farewell column.
It’s a fear of mine that someday in the future, the wide-eyed freshman with a love of writing and a love of sports won’t meet the people he needs to think to himself, “Hey, this is something I could really do.” I was lucky enough to find this, and thankfully, in the near future, a badass group of people awaits this kid.
Shannon, who I hope never forgets how important it is that the Stanford Daily never wins another Ink Bowl (and is a decent writer, I guess). Michelle, whose talent knows no bounds. Richard, one of the hardest-working people I’ve ever known. Winston, who is so close to being great, as soon as his passion for writing meets his passion for basketball.
As for me — once that hypothetical kid, now ostensibly a realized man — I head out into the terrifying expanse of the journalism industry, hoping someone throws me a line.