Madeline Hinkley/Daily.

Position(s): Daily Sports Writer 

Section(s): Sports

Semesters at The Daily: 2

Alright look, I’ll be blunt. 

At the time of this writing, I’ll have been on The Daily’s staff for 85 days. For those doing the math right now, that’s just under three months, give or take. In any other club, in any other circumstance in general really, being able to write a coherent goodbye letter after two months would be insane. 

“And yet.” One of my favorite phrases. So many things can be said with just those two words. And yet, despite the fact I’ve only been here three months, I have never felt more at home with a group of people on this campus in all the years I’ve been here. 

From writing my shadow story in September to spending an hour at production a couple of weeks ago listening to Jimmy Buffet and throwing paper balls at the light fixtures, the Sports desk has become a place of comfort that I never thought I would find. You see, I transferred here in the fall of 2019. By the time I felt in the groove of things and ready to break out of my shell, COVID-19 shut any hopes of finding my people down with a fury. After a year and a half of doing class from a bedroom, I joined The Daily not just to pursue my love of writing, but as a last-ditch effort to maybe have something resembling a “Michigan experience.”

The Daily has given that to me in spades. To Kent and Lane, I am eternally grateful for the way you two welcomed me into the fold in August. You both have made my first few months as part of The Daily so much less anxious than I thought they’d be because of the way you’ve led the section. You’ve been kind, direct with your expectations and have treated everyone on a fair footing — that’s all anyone could ask of a managing editor duo at the end of the day, but you’ve gone above and beyond that. Whether you stay in the journalism business or not, I know you’ll make great leaders.

Big Tex, you unknowingly were a mentor to me in those first few events I covered. While I came in with the writing skills already, I wouldn’t be half the reporter I am now without watching how you navigated the gameday experience and worked with the SIDS. I hope I’ve imparted the same knowledge on the shadow reporters that have watched me: patience with the process, humility when interviewing a subject and a love for the game being played, not just one team playing in it. Shoutout to the 810.

To Marcia Pankratz and the entire Michigan Field Hockey team, a year with expectations like yours deserved a writer far more experienced than I was. Thank you for letting me write the story of your season anyway. Because of you all, I’ve become a field hockey fan for life.

(Seriously, if you’re reading this and have never watched a field hockey game, give it a shot. It’s sick.)

To the dozens of people who have knowingly or unknowingly inspired me to pursue journalism as more than just a pipe dream, I hope I’ve done you proud. I know I’m proud to call you friends, family and mentors.

My only regret is that I wish I had more time. More time to be with the best damn student Sports desk in the country, more chances to beat State News into a tantrum throwing mess in a touch football game, more, more, more. But ultimately, that’s not what the cards had in store for me. Instead of being wistful and wishing I had made different choices though, I choose to look at it this way: The fact I’m already melancholy about the idea of leaving The Daily, just 85 days into my tenure here, shows just how worthwhile it’s already been. I can only imagine what the next 154 days will have in store.

Hell, I’ve still got another two sports seasons to cover anyways. That’s practically all the time in the world.