Four years ago I walked into a plain and rickety old building behind Moe’s in Storrs Center for the first time.
This year I walked out of it for the last time.
In between then and now, I’ve slept on a bare floor in a Syracuse motel, I’ve been locked in multiple parking garages and I’ve left work at 3am on more than one occasion.
It was amazing.
Growing up, I really loved only three things. The first is the High School Musical soundtrack. The second and third things are storytelling and sports. The storytelling came first; when I was about four feet shorter I used to consume books like they were candy. The sports came a little bit later as I came to realize that sports are really just the stories we love broadcast on live TV with a car commercial occasionally sprinkled in. Davids and Goliaths. The down on their luck underdogs. The larger than life superheroes. That’s all sports is. Stories.
The idea that part of my job was telling those stories every week is insane to me. The fact that I somehow managed to occasionally buy food because of that job is also maybe even more insane.
I wrote about highs and lows. I wrote about Herculean efforts and undelivered promises. I wrote about UConn Field Hockey and UConn Football.
I would like to think I was pretty okay at doing so.
And yes, in between my first and last trips to the Daily Campus, a lot of other things have happened to me. I’ve had my downtimes. I’ve been near the very bottom. I’ve realized that maybe I’m not as mentally strong as I thought I was. But I don’t for one second regret the amount of time I’ve put towards my work at the DC. It was truly a blessing to work for a place that shared so many of my passions and was always a great environment to work in. If I could, I would work with some of these people for the rest of my life. Being around them has made me a better writer and a better person.
I’ve been stranded in downtown Hartford, slept on uncomfortable floors and endured an extremely overpaid coaches tirade with them. Could you say that about your coworkers?
But the buzzer has sounded and it’s finally time to walk off the court. And to be honest, I’m terrified of what comes next. But if I didn’t work at the Daily Campus, I would be even more so. Working for the DC has made me a more dedicated worker, it’s helped me learn what I value the most, and it’s taught me to run on four hours of sleep consistently.
It’s also taught me to never ask Randy Edsall a question he didn’t like, but that’s a story for another time and the UConn Football complex far behind me.
Before I officially retire as a Daily Campus writer, there are some thanks that I owe some people.
Thank you to Matt Zampini and Dan Madigan for being the first ones to ever give me the chance of putting my voice to paper.
Thanks to Chris Hanna, Steph Sheehan, Mike Logan, Tyler Keating and Connor Donahue for being both great bosses and talented writers but even better people. You’re all going to do wonderful things in the future. If any of you ever doubt yourself, let me know so I can scream at you and call you an idiot.
Thank you to anyone who has read my stories. Whether it be a game recap or whatever nonsensical column I somehow convinced the editors to let me write that week. Getting the opportunity to put something tangible into the world that people will ideally enjoy means more than you could ever know.
Thank you to my Grammie. She didn’t win the race to my graduation like she wanted to but is the reason I fell in love with stories and books and sports in the first place. Without her, I’m not typing these words.
Lastly and most importantly, thank you to my parents, Jennifer and Keith Lambert, for your unwavering support of me. You’ve given me more than I deserve or could ever hope to give back.
To the future sports editors, Andrew Morrison and Kevin Arnold, try not to burn the place down while we’re away. (You’ll do great, guys)
If you’ll allow me to give some advice before I go, let it be this:
Life is hard and full of challenges. Try to get some great people on your team to take it on with you.
And if you can’t do that, at least try to find some people that will wail with you in shared pain as you wait for the final story of the night to come in at 1:00am.
I’m lucky that I found both in a plain and rickety old building behind a Moe’s.