The second person I met when I moved into my cramped triple my freshman year at UConn was an Eastern soccer transfer student by the name of Matt Zampini. I met his family and his mother said “My son is a great writer and is going to write for the school newspaper!” Not only would he write for The Daily Campus, but his intense love for all things sports and to-the-point reporting drove him to become sports editor two years later. It wasn’t long before I would meet the one and only Dan Madigan,who lived across the hall from me and Zampini, and would become the DC sports editor this year.
I wonder what I would have said that first day if you told me that by the end of the year my beloved Seahawks would have their first Super Bowl and UConn men’s basketball would have another championship in March? I would never have imagined that they would go right back the following year, or that I would still have to go to sports section meetings even after my beloved Seahawks lost on the 1-yard line.
So much has passed since my first day at UConn, but one of the few things that has been consistent is The Daily Campus. During my sophomore year I asked Zampini, then associate sports editor, when the meetings were. Even though he thought I was joking, he told me to come by. I showed up now and then to meetings and stuck my head in to see friends who had also started writing there. As I’ve grown from a freshman with a neighbor on the paper to a journalism major with tons of friends working on different parts of The Daily Campus, a lot of things have changed and a lot has remained the same.
One thing that has changed, and has undoubtedly brought me much sorrow since I joined the UConn community was learning to follow the Premier League and falling for the lovable screw-up crest that is Arsenal. I played FIFA for the first time freshman year. I quickly began to like certain teams over others and started to pay attention to different clubs around the world. From there Mesut Ozil and Arsene Wenger grabbed my heart and brought me down to the miserable depths that come with being an Arsenal fan.
Wenger deserves one more year with the club, but I mean that in the strictest sense. Although he could continue to bring this club around and challenge for the top four spots in the league for the next five years, the future of the club is just too heavily invested in for him to continue to steer the ship. He needs another year to clean up the state of affairs he has built up, and leave the club with a core of top flight players with a new coach who has funds to build further. That means dropping Wilshere, Debuchy, Walcott (if anyone will buy him), Cazorla and Mertesacker, and maybe even selling Alexis Sanchez. I know it may be hard to keep him if the boss is leaving and the club is looking to rebuild, but the highest priority target should focus on resigning Ozil as he is arguably the best in the world at his position and is very happy with his life in London. Even if the legend that is Arsene Wenger pulls an FA Cup out this year and a Premier League title next year, I would still say he needs to retire and ride off into the distance already.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a devout Seattle Seahawks fan, praying to our lord and savior Russell Wilson every night. John Schneider and Pete Carroll know better than any one of you or I do, so we should all just accept their omnipotent judgment and both prosper and suffer as they see fit. Marshawn Lynch, also known as “Beast Mode,” is the greatest Seahawk to ever live, even if he does come back and go to Las Vegas. I mean, we got two Beastquakes and the guy only cost a third-round pick! No. 2 and No. 3 on that list are Steve Largent (look up his tackle) and Walter Jones, the greatest left tackle to ever play the game. I was born and raised a Boston fan but grew up to spread my fandom, following the Seahawks and Coyotes. Although I still hold an admiration for Tom Brady and his absolute reign of the NFL throne, I still weep once per day about our Super Bowl against him and the interception on the 1-yard line. Thanks, Malcolm Butler.
On a final, more serious note, I’d like to mention the importance of the people I find surrounding me and the climate we as a generation are about to face. Although I spent my career at The Daily Campus covering sports, there has never been a more important time in our lives or maybe even the life of the country as civil uprising challenges social norms both at home and globally. There is a heavy importance that we should all place on our journalists and our government in the coming years to report the truth and let us make decisions regarding our privacy, our rights and our freedom. We may find ourselves in hot water with all the problems we have inherited and created for ourselves, but if we all keep our heads up and work together there is nothing that we cannot do.
Joe Burns is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.