Hey, girl. I got your note. It’s a good thing you kept it short, “For Rent” is about as terse as it gets, otherwise I’d probably try again to talk you into keeping me around for a little while longer.
I could barely see the sign loosely taped outside my courtyard through the thick morning fog. Pretty fitting, right? You, Berkeley, you were a part of me for four and a half years and suddenly I couldn’t see my life even 10 feet in front of me. Life still looks rather uncertain without you even though it was just a two weeks’ notice.
I understand why you’ve tired of me. You have bigger issues to confront now. It’s time you cut me loose since I already overstayed my welcome. And while I want to cling to your vibrant beauty for a few moments more, I understand it’s about that time. But at least let me thank you first.
I remain unsure why you took me on in the first place. I spent most of my life on the B-Team. But an A-list lady like you can reveal the world to a B-team chap like me.
Thankfully my parents advised me to take my chance with you. Can’t think of a piece of bad advice they have ever given me. Now they’re going to have to help steer me right again because I feel bound to crash without you. What I would do without them?
But what will I be without you?
You know what? Let’s not focus on the past for once. I’m all too guilty of nostalgia abuse. Having been with you for this long has prepared me for a future without you even if this economy will try to tell me otherwise.
You introduced me not merely to incredible minds but to incredible people who forged my growing identity. You’re real world, you know that? From you I gleaned not solely the astounding instruction from elite academics, but the modes of survival in this immense yet staggeringly competitive melting pot.
You’ve got plenty of knowledge, girl. I know that. But it’s your urban swagger that I dig even more. I never got that ivory tower vibe from you. You consistently proceeded without pretention. I may have been immersed in this wondrous dreamscape for nine whole semesters, but you consistently reminded me that when you finally casted me out, I would be ready to fight in that rapid, globalizing vortex of society.
I may have spent most of my time toiling around the sixth floor of Eshleman Hall writing columns and editing features, but every day was a lesson.
You not only educated me about the grind and the hustle in class, but you acutely prepared me for the stark realities that pervade our everyday existence.
I know. Trying to become a sportswriter is hardly an ideal decision these days. But we both knew that sports are all that I have ever known. So you showed me to The Daily Californian, a place where real student journalism lives and is produced by some of the most trying, devoted types I’ll ever be lucky enough to meet.
These kids, I mean, where else would I meet them? Chris and Matt gave me the opportunity to write. I owe them a favor I couldn’t possibly repay.
And Jack and Ed? What incredible beat partners. I’ll never know how they dealt with all my chatter especially on roadtrips. And then the youth: Jonathan, Christina, Javier, Mihir, David and Luca. They are the future, boy. They’ll be locking down whatever careers they choose while I continue to play with words.
And damn, that girl Katie kept me on the straight. Can’t imagine what the experience would have been without her. That girl is a game-changer.
I love my former colleagues who will soon become the competition. It’s an honor to even share the playing field with the emerging pros.
So it’s time to finally take the snap. The defense is angling up, and they’re ready to blitz the house.
But I’m not calling an audible yet, girl. You taught me how to read this defense. I just hope I studied my game film properly. You caught me sleeping through plenty of film sessions.
Because in this time I learned to craft my prose with care, interview with insight and proceed with patience. Somehow I’ve got to show the world that there is still some magic left in sports. I’ve just got to stay self-effacing and remember the opportunities you offered.
Let’s just hope I’m ready to make a play when the linebackers try to throw me for a loss.
That’s all, Berkeley. Thanks for kicking it with me. You’ll forever be a reminder of that simpler period in my life. What marvelous time I shared in an idyllic setting with vivacious folks that stimulated my every moment. So as I watch the sun settle below your bordering bay just one more time, just remember that you bred me to believe. I love you, girl.