Senior Column: One and Done

Photo courtesy of Neil Simmons

A lot of people come into their freshman year of college with a pretty good idea of what they want to do for a career, many others figure out halfway through and still have time to change majors and graduate on time. I, on the other hand, only figured out what I truly wanted to do at the end of my junior year.

I knew from the outset that I wanted to work in sports, working in any other field just seemed boring to me. Sports have been my greatest passion for pretty much my entire life and some of my best and worst memories are tied to major events in Boston sports history.

From the highs of celebrating the 2004 World Series with my father, too young to grasp the true significance of the moment, and celebrating in stunned disbelief that the Patriots stormed back from being down 28-3 to win yet another Super Bowl, to the lowest low of having an undefeated season slip through the Patriots’ grasp and the deathly silence that fell upon school for the next week.

The question wasn’t whether or not I could find a job in sports, but what job I wanted. I spent nearly three full years fruitlessly wrestling with this question in my head and the pressure to figure it out grew as each semester passed.

I tried out the Sports Business Association and enjoyed my time there, but I had a nagging thought that I didn’t want to be stuck at a desk making cold calls to sell tickets all day long. I tried out the SUBOG Sports Promo committee, but never felt like I fit in that well. I got a job working Gameday Ops with the New England Revolution, but I preferred to keep it as a part time gig. Despite my efforts, nothing felt right. Nothing that I tried truly felt like something I’d want to do for a full time career.

Suddenly one day it clicked. I was on a semester abroad in Florence, taking in a gorgeous spring day atop the Piazzale Michelangelo overlooking the beautiful city with friends as we discussed our career plans. When it was my turn to talk about my future it hit me, and I felt a thick fog clear from my mind.

I love sports, and don’t mind writing if it’s about a topic I’m interested in, why not combine the two? Everyone stared at me confused, because I stopped talking the moment I made my revelation.

Of all the future careers I thought about and looked into, sports journalism just felt different to me. It felt like something I wanted to do, rather than something I was somewhat willing to do.

With the realization of my desired career also came the reality that I only had one year to create a path to lead me to it. So I sought to go all in on this opportunity and gain enough experience to make something happen.

I really had no idea what I was getting into when I contacted Mike Logan about joining the sports section. I don’t think I ever picked up a copy of the Daily Campus before, and I made a great early impression by missing the first meeting because I didn’t know where the building was.

It took me a little while to get the hang of writing like a journalist but the more I wrote, the more confident I grew in my writing and the more I genuinely enjoyed writing every week. It was refreshing to write small articles about topics I’m interested in rather than big essays about stuff I don’t care about.

I’ve been told that senior year goes by the fastest, and that is the absolute truth. Seemingly in the blink of an eye I went from stumbling through a UConn in the MLB article or point/counterpoint to juggling the Track and Golf beats every week, and now suddenly I’m only one week away from graduation. I’m grateful for being given an opportunity join the sports section and for meeting everyone on the staff. They welcomed me in and encouraged me to stick around despite my initial awkwardness and discomfort of joining a new group. I am especially appreciative of Danny and Conner for stepping up and handling the beats when I was drowning in homework.

Do I wish I could’ve started earlier? Yeah, but it’s better late than never. I’m glad I took a chance to try something new rather than pass on it and wonder “what if.” Who knows? Maybe one year is all I need.


Neil Simmons is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at neil.simmons@uconn.edu.