I’ve covered two national championship matches. The only time I ever sat in the press box at Cicerone Field, Matt Summers threw a no-hitter. By chance, I started to cover the women’s soccer team as a sophomore; that year, they made it to the Sweet 16. The night the women’s soccer team was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament, I rushed over to the men’s basketball game, where I interviewed Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry who sat courtside that evening. That same night, I met my girlfriend Gabrielle. What a great night. She’s read every one of my articles since … the struggle is real.
I won an intramural softball championship, played a year of Ultimate Frisbee, ran a half marathon and once high-fived Kobe at midcourt in the Bren Events Center — where I’ll graduate next week. It’s been a great run.
Amy DePaul: Literary Journalism 21 was the first journalism class I took at UC Irvine in a time when I was deciding whether to pursue journalism or business. You are extremely valuable to this campus, and I can’t thank you enough.
Amy Wilentz: Thank you for Sports Narrative and for asking me to stop kissing so much ass in my stories.
Miles Corwin: LJ 103 True Crime stands out with the most interesting reading material I’ve had in all of college. Anyone who hasn’t taken it, should. You made a kid who grew up dreading books turn pages like I had never turned them before.
Barry Siegel: You’ve taught me that I can write nonfiction and have it read like fiction. Thank you for the LJ program. Maybe someday I’ll help you start a long-form sports emphasis within the major. Keep inspiring students, because you’re doing a fabulous job.
David Gao: I learned so much writing for you as a freshman and a sophomore. Thank you for your guidance and friendship.
Jun and Jessica: Great work this year! Thank you for asking me back when you needed it, because I needed it too.
Copy editors: I’m sorry for the length of my articles. When you have the material and it fits, use it. Don’t always be shackled by a word count. We have the luxury of an LJ department on this campus, so we might as well publish some long-form every once in a while. Thank you, Belester, for putting up with my 5,000 word piece … twice.
Archel: Best layouts I’ve ever seen in the New U this year. Bravo!
Vinh: UCI stands for U Cry Instantly, never forget it. Having you on staff is always a Vinh Nguyen situation.
Cady: Own it. Be a leader, be vocal and have fun.
Readers: I only get mail when you’re outraged or I make a mistake. In the times when I don’t hear anything, it must mean I’m doing an okay job. I loved seeing someone read my story on the bus or in passing. I don’t know how many of you there are out there, but putting my name on a byline wasn’t always easy. Thank you for taking the time to engage in my stories, and I hope you were entertained, educated and outraged by what I wrote. I’ll miss this.
I hope: I hope Mamadou Ndiaye leads us to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in basketball. He’s 7 feet 5 inches; the Bren is officially Big Mamadou’s House. I hope our baseball team wins a national championship someday. I hope David Kniffin never leaves UCI á la Speraw, that he retires an Anteater. I hope a football team surfaces someday, no matter how shitty they play. I hope more sports journalists attend UCI in the future and love the Anteaters so much that they’re willing to question every move at the risk of being disliked.
Ed Board: We passed Measure U this year; I’ll remember that the most. Hopefully this paper lives on, in print, for at least another decade. I’ve tried to step away twice, but the New U always sucked me back in. My hope is that whether in print or online, we continue to thrive in our sports coverage. As Anteater athletics continues to grow, so does the role of the journalist to hold them accountable, applaud their accolades, but also question everything. Is it time to retire, is this player receiving enough playing time, is this assistant coach ready for this role? Continue to ask these questions, to think like a journalist, not just a fan, and to never cheer in the press box.
Good luck, UCI.