Writing the final column of your career is kind of like picking your senior quote: You want it to be witty and eternal. Now that my Daily career has come to a close, I need to write my senior quote equivalent.
Luckily for me, I didn’t have to come up with a senior quote for high school, so I never had to deal with that kind of pressure.
But now I’m faced with the task of avoiding a farewell column that is analogous to “What a long, strange trip it’s been.”
Am I putting too much into this? Probably. After all, nobody remembers anyone else’s senior quote except their own, and I should expect the same from this column. So this one is for me. It’s written in my defense. It’s everything I’ve wanted to say, but never really had the right time.
I’ve been called a lot of things in my four years as sports writer and columnist. I’ve been told I’m biased against Ohio State and biased for Ohio State. That I’m self-deprecating and egomaniacal. I’m caustic, yet sappy. I’m a poseur and a homer. I’ve heard “You should take it easy on poor John Navarre” and “How can you not tear John Navarre a new one?” I’ve used many inside jokes and many references that are played.
And you know what? It’s true – all of it. These dichotomies are what came when I tried to walk the thin line between being a journalist and being a Wolverines’ fan. It was, at times, extremely difficult and, at others, extremely frustrating.
Sure, I wanted to run out onto the field to high-five Brandon Williams after he recovered the ball in Wisconsin last season. I wanted to leap out of the press box and knock down Jeff Smoker’s pass. I wanted to join the pile-up after the Penn State game, and I wanted to give Navarre another option in the endzone this season in Columbus. Even though I missed being a fan because my job wouldn’t allow me to be one, I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything.
During my years, I’ve been baffled at how some coaches could maintain their positions in the athletic department, but someone that I’ve never wondered about was Lloyd Carr. Coach Carr was to me as Tony was to George Constanza. I tried to be professional, but I still clammed up like a seventh grader asking for a dance during post-loss press conferences.
In my writing I’ve gratuitously referenced “The Simpsons,” “Seinfeld” and “The Big Lebowski” for my own amusement and because sometimes other writers can just say things better than I can. I wish I had something to quote this time, except nothing is coming to mind.
Beyond the Daily, I wanted to prove that reporters didn’t gravitate to writing because they couldn’t hack it as athletes, but sadly, IM softball and beer pong titles didn’t prove much of anything for me. And with a knee of papier-m