These “farewell columns” are usually sappy and nostalgic.
I’ve been accused of being both.
So I’m not going to be a hero and take an alternate approach. I’ll leave that to somebody else.
To get things started, I’ve got a confession to make: the Daily and I have a bit of a checkered past.
I rarely, if ever, picked up the paper freshman year. And for whatever reason, even though you’d be hard-pressed to find anybody who likes sports more, I can only remember one Daily sports story from my first go-round in Ann Arbor (It had to do with the basketball sanctions).
When I finally did drag myself to the Student Publications Building for the Sunday sports staff meeting at the start of my sophomore year, I wanted to be somewhere else. The thought of missing the 1 p.m. kickoff time for NFL games terrified me. Although, as a lifelong Lions fan, I was probably doing myself a favor.
Even as I entered my second semester as a night editor during my junior year, I was having misgivings about the whole thing. I stepped down from my editing position because I felt overwhelmed. It was the middle of hockey season, and as I found myself in the middle of a six-month-long, 35-hour-a-week writing job, I briefly contemplated quitting altogether. Thankfully, I didn’t.
Now, as I sit here, a senior sports editor writing my last piece for the Daily after three years of work, a random, haphazard jumble of memories is rushing back to me. More importantly, I’m beginning to realize all the things I’ll miss.
I’ll miss working 14-hour Sundays.
I’ll miss those long road trips, especially in the car. And group sing-a-longs to “Chicago” tunes in the process.
I’ll miss working with so many talented writers and quality people. To Ian Herbert, Megan Kolodgy, Jake Rosenwasser, Ryan Sosin, Matt Venegoni and Stephanie Wright – my beatmates over the past three years – thanks so much. It was quite a ride. And to the rest of the Daily Sports staff – past and present – I’m indebted to you, too. You know who you are.
I’ll miss John Lowe, one of the kindest, wisest and most generous people I know. John, you helped my writing more than anybody else.
I’ll miss not being able to cheer in the press box.
I’ll miss that strange feeling of walking into class and seeing my fellow students reading my articles and columns.
I’ll miss the complimentary e-mails from readers.
I’ll miss the hate mail from people who think I’m an “evil idiot.”
I’ll miss dressing up as “Gabraham Lincoln” for my Halloween headshot.
I’ll miss having trouble with Adobe InDesign. OK, maybe not.
I’ll miss the sports office, even when I think about the time it was converted into a carcinogenic, claustrophobic bubble during construction last year.
I’ll miss milkshake Thursdays and themed nightsides.
I’ll miss editors complaining that I write too much too slowly.
I’ll miss making a fool of myself at a karaoke bar in San Antonio.
I’ll miss the pilgrimage to Malcolm X’s birthplace in Omaha, not to mention eating a Reuben in the city where it was invented.
I’ll miss those moments during long weekends watching baseball at The Fish when I realized that it was my job.
I’ll miss those measly paychecks, even though I would’ve done it all for free.
I’ll miss the coaches (Kathy Teichert, Jon Urbanchek, Rich Maloney, Red Berenson and Lloyd Carr) whose teams I covered, and the sports information directors (Gene Skidmore, Jim Schneider, Matt Trevor and Dave Ablauf) who tried to make my life a little easier.
I’ll miss the athletes who shared their time, thoughts and emotions with me. From laughter and jokes to grief and mourning, they bared it all.
I’ll miss J. Brady McCollough’s encouragement, so important for a young sportswriter.
I’ll miss Gennaro Filice’s attention to detail and those seemingly endless nights (Except maybe the time we worked until 5 a.m.).
I’ll miss Ian Herbert’s ability to multitask. Pretty impressive, buddy.
I’ll miss Jack Herman’s determination to improve the section. And our trips to Zingerman’s, of course.
I’ll miss acting as the sports section’s food and restaurant guru.
I’ll miss having such a no-brainer topic for my law school personal statement.
I’ll miss the batcave, the library, the attic and the building in general.
I’ll miss the completely absurd marathon that is Daily elections.
I’ll miss transcribing all those quotes after games and press conferences, sometimes in a dark, moving car, and always hoping my laptop battery wouldn’t die.
I’ll miss the little nooks and crannies of Canham, The Fish, Yost and the Big House that fans don’t always get to see.
But most of all, I’ll miss having this wonderful opportunity; the chance to write about sports, something I love, and to have my words reach so many people who share my passion. And if you’re only reading because class is boring and there’s nothing else to do, I appreciate that, too.
With that, I bid you all a fond farewell. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading as much as I’ve enjoyed writing.
Gabe would also like to thank Mom, Dad, Alex, Marisa, Aaron, Adam, David, Ruby, Zach, Zack, Tiny E, Coach, Marie, Roundtable, the Thanksgiving Classic, Louie, Jordan, Jason, Donn, Ali, Ashley, Anne, Kevin, Scott, Singer, Weiner, Cooper, Dziadosz and The Bus. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.