I have never been good with goodbyes, so this is hard for me. This is my farewell address to the Eater Nation that has been a part of my family for the past four years now. I want to first thank everyone at UCI that I have come across in these past four year. These are the students, athletes, coaches, professors and everyone else. All of you have influenced me in some way or other and have made me the man I am today. Thank you very much.
I never claimed to know everything about sports. My life has never been 100 percent devoted to sports. I was never a great athlete. I do, however, have a strong passion for sports. I truly believe my life is better off for having that passion. I have put a lot of my time, effort, heart, blood, sweat and a few tears into athletics and I do not regret it. The cathartic feeling that following sports gives is truly euphoric. That is why I have tried to direct my passion into a possible career path. That is why I have written for The New University’s sports section for four years and that is why I became the associate sports editor for this year.
It has definitely been a rollercoaster ride, to say the least. I have found out just how much power the written word has. I have written some items that I have been really proud of and I have written some things that were just to beat a deadline. I have been congratulated for my work and also despised. With the good has come the bad and that’s fine.
I have doing this journalism thing for about six years now and have come across a lot of things. The hardest thing I have ever encountered is writing a weekly column. The pressure and stress with coming up with new subjects to talk about is immense. I am glad, however, that I was able to experience it and I believe I became better at it.
Covering sports here at UCI is like looking into a window of something that not a lot people get to see. I have been lucky enough to witness firsthand the growth of the UCI athletic department. There is the possibility of becoming an equal to the UCLA’s and USC’s. I know there has been a lot of pleading to go out and support the athletics department this year, but there has been good reason for it. UCI’s teams are getting better across the board and Mike Izzi and his staff seem devoted to building an athletic powerhouse. My mind always goes back to the black-out game against Cal State Northridge. There is no reason why that shouldn’t happen every game. The players and coaches can only do so much. It is up to the students and fans to come out and show your support and make UCI great.
I am not sure what the future holds for Andrew Melkonian. I would like to continue having a career that focuses on sports, but that is not always possible. I will try though. I would like to give just one more piece of advice. When you are trying to find work, try and find something that you love to do. I know money is necessary, but trust me when I say happiness is way more important.
I do not have a lot fond memories or funny stories to share, but I will mention a brief few that I do cherish and will remember. I will remember my first interview with Head Baseball Coach Mike Gillespie. It was an amazing half-hour of just talking about baseball and his career. The game I will most remember is the Feb. 13, 2010 match up between UCI and UC Davis. Patrick Rembert made a game-winning layup with nine seconds left to give UCI the 69-67 win. It was the greatest game I had ever witnessed at UCI.
In closing, I would like to thank all those that have made an impact on my life one last time. I also want to thank my fellow New University members for their friendship and I will never forget any of them. Thank you UCI for all that you have given me and I hope that I was able to leave you something as well. I think the goal for writers is to be remembered and hopefully I have been able to do that.
I would like to end my farewell address with a message to all those who have found fault with my writings or me personally. This is addressed to all the haters and people that question my ability as a writer and a connoisseur of sports. My message is actually a quote from a famous college basketball coach:
“When my time on earth is gone, and my activities here are passed, I want they bury me upside down, and my critics can kiss my ass!” – Bobby Knight.
Good luck and God bless.