I always knew I would write a farewell column. I just never could have guessed it would come so soon.
But here I am, clicking and clacking away at the keyboard, at 7:47 p.m. on production night. This draft will be done in an hour or so (or two or three, really…), then it will be sent through the red-penned gauntlet of the editor-in-chief, copy editor and Mr. Chad Brown, my successor as sports editor. The story will be laid out on the page before being exported to the printer. Tomorrow, I will grab a small stack of papers and open it wide across my lap. I will habitually read the front page then go straight to the sports section to find my name — where I am greeted with a sense of pride.
This process will happen tomorrow. But not next week. Not next month. Not next year.
It may seem like I am being dramatic. “Why is he making such a big deal of writing his final article?” Sure, if I were you, I could see where you’re coming from. There are seasons of change throughout one’s life — we must move on to the next thing. But this hasn’t been a trendy passion that flashed in and out of my life.
Journalism has been my thing.
It started in the early mornings of elementary school, when I would analyze the sports page and weather section while my mom warmed up half of a poppy seed muffin. In middle school, my dream of starring in the NBA fizzled once I was placed on C team. I knew I couldn’t leave sports, and decided to write my way there.
It continued as an eighth grader, where I served as the editor for the monthly newsletter. I entered a statewide journalism competition for high school students and placed second. That’s when I realized, ‘Whoa, I can do this forever.’ This led to my three-year stint at The Patriot Ledger at Centennial High School, where I learned the community of a newsroom is unlike anything else I’ll ever experience.
Journalism is individualistic and high-stressed but requires teamwork and an uncanny ability to stay entertained during down time. You take the artsy photographers and designers, opinionated political scientists, flannel-donning musicians and sports dudes, and expect them to unite to produce an objective, informing, interesting and timely publication. Guess what? It works every single time.
After my incredible high school experience on the student newspaper, I feared it wouldn’t be nearly as fun in college. Three years later, I can confidently admit that I was wrong. The random conglomeration of Seattle Pacific students gathered in a community setting became an event I looked forward to each week.
I am glad the awkward interviews after a loss are over, and also relieved that I will no longer be driven insane by a headline that doesn’t quite fit. But there is nothing like seeing your name in print, and only those who have experienced it can only understand that testament.
The story is coming to an end, in both a literal and figurative sense. I am extremely grateful for the experiences journalism has provided over the past seven years. Even though I am shifting away from traditional, newsroom-style journalism, my passion for sharing information and stories through sports remains.
As of right now, it seems like I am going in the direction of working for professional sports organizations rather than media. Who knows, I may return to the journalism universe down the road. But I needed to make sure I wrote my farewell column, just in case.
Unfortunately, you’re not reading this in Sports Illustrated, as I always had hoped. Nonetheless, it has been an incredible ride.
I’ve been a part of newspaper production longer than anything else in my life. Longer than any sport played, school attended, or girl dated (and it is not even close). For those of you whose names will appear in publications of the future, whether it is this one or another, I will always be a little envious of you.