Goodbye is about 600 words. And it’s the hardest 600 words I’ve ever cranked out.
I’ve seen a lot of people bid farewell in my four years here. From athletes Lorrenzo Wade and D.J. Gay to The Daily Aztec’s Mount Rushmore of sports writers: Devin Kunysz, David Pope, Jon Gold and Eric Shannon.
But I never realized how tough it would be.
How do you say goodbye to San Diego State sports, to best friends and to epic nights with the sports crew? More importantly, how do you say goodbye to the best job in the world?
This paper has taken me from America’s Finest City to New York, to Rhode Island, to Indiana, to Las Vegas, to Arizona and to almost every major city in California and back.
It’s given me the shot to cover the greatest collegiate pitcher of all time, Stephen Strasburg. It’s given me the opportunity to cover two men’s basketball NCAA Tournament teams. It’s allowed me to watch every magical game of a 34-3, Sweet 16 season.
It posted me up in hotels in Vegas. It helped me put my face on national television on The Mtn. It gave me the chance to cover Notre Dame football, Duke basketball and National Champion UConn.
It put me courtside to watch Kemba Walker, Jimmer Fredette, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, Patrick “Patty” Mills, Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams and Nolan Smith. It sat me in a press box to see Jimmy Clausen, Andy Dalton, Ronnie Hillman and Ryan Lindley. And it let me interview Brady Hoke, Steve Fisher, Tony Gwynn and Charlie Weis.
What this job has done for me is something I would never have dreamed of four years ago when I was a dorky 18-year-old asking to be a sports writer.
But I would trade all of the reporting, the games, the stadiums and arenas if I could just keep the friendships and the memories that came with them.
My mentors Jon, Eric, Devin and David Biderman were invaluable. My sports photographers Glenn Connelly, Antonio Zaragoza and Dave Olender made my life so much easier. And my favorite News editors, Kevin McCormack, Whitney Lawrence and Wendy Fry, made sitting in a small cubicle editing articles bearable.
Then of course, there’s Pope. I hired him to be my assistant a few years ago. He later became my best friend. The nights in Las Vegas after Mountain West Conference Tournament games, the original “Overtime with The DA,” snide commentary on press row watching basketball games and epic parties at his various dumpy houses were unforgettable. I die a little inside every second that man is in Chino Hills and not San Diego.
And after him, there was my best work: hiring Agustin Gonzalez and Matt McClanahan. Those two made me into who I am today. If those three chairs in Qualcomm Stadium’s press box could talk; if Pacific Beach bars had DVRs; if Agustin’s floor wasn’t so comfortable; if we weren’t so good working together; if all of it wasn’t so perfect, then maybe those two guys wouldn’t be my brothers. But this last year with those two and the people who came with them have been priceless.
But now it’s all about to end. We’re all about to graduate in a week. And I’m going to cry.
My girlfriend compared it to “The Sandlot.” We were all wide-eyed, goofy kids a few years ago. Now we’re grown up and moving away.
Pope’s got a real job. Agustin’s off to the Philippines. Matt’s headed back to Alabama.
And me? I have no idea where I’m going.
I just know I’m leaving behind the best job on the planet.