Senior Column: To infinity, and then back home

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I hate saying goodbye more than anything in the world. More than the Philadelphia Eagles, more than American cheese and more than being forced not to use the Oxford comma. Hate it. Absolutely hate it.

Let’s prolong the end for a bit and go back to the beginning. I promise this won’t take as long as you’re imagining it will.

I started writing for pleasure in summer 2014, a few short months before I came to UConn to start my college career. 

I was dealing with depression after a miserable finale to high school, and only had weed to cope. And that came only at night, with trips to a friend’s house that often dropped me off exactly where I started emotionally, if not worse.

During the days, I searched for an outlet, while my mind ran wild with nightmares of not finding the right place for myself socially up in Storrs.

Writing solved both. I started blogging, poorly, on the advice of good friend Ben Buchman, and that got me up in the morning.

When I arrived at Storrs in late August, I quickly signed up for the Daily Campus and began making the short Sunday night trek from Shippee to the DC building. That was easy. To those of you in the Sports section that travel the damn Oregon Trail to come to these meetings, I salute you.

I loved writing, and I enjoyed my fleeting time in the press box that first year, but moving up through the ranks of the paper never seemed like much more than a pipe dream. When I looked to the windowsill during sports meetings, I could never imagine myself sitting up there in that position.

But things change.

One thing led to another, and eventually I became the Sports Editor, covering the UConn men’s basketball team, the same one that danced in Texas a few weeks after my UConn acceptance letter was deposited in my mailbox. (Suburban New York, by the way. About 40 minutes north of Manhattan, and five minutes from the Palisades Mall.)

It’s still a tad surreal. In high school, I probably couldn’t lead my way out of a paper bag if asked, although I could run a mean group project when motivated. Now I was a manager of people, and forced to address a room staring at me, waiting for words to come. Eye contact is still a challenge on that front. There’s still opportunity for growth.

I really enjoyed it, and I really enjoyed everything else I got the chance to do here, be that copy editing, designing, publishing, interviewing, filming, workshopping or driving. A whole lot of driving. If I never had to climb down the stairs of a Hartford parking garage ever again, that would be cool with me.

What matters most is the people, and the time spent with them. That’s what got me out of bed and across campus to the building behind Moe’s, day after day after day. I’ll never forget these experiences for as long as I live.

I want to thank some of them, and I really wish I could thank them all.

Thank you Matt Zampini, for prodding me to become more involved here. Without you, who knows where I’d be. You were an awesome editor.

Thank you Matt Zabierek, Kayvon Ghoreshi, Bailey Wright and Julia Werth for running the show so fluidly during my middle years. Thanks Molly Stadnicki for taking over so seamlessly this year and putting up with me.

Thank you Steph Sheehan, not only for your teamwork with Molly, of course, but for tagging along with me to all those sad men’s basketball games. You’re great company, a trusted friend and a hell of a writer. History will remember who covered the UConn men from 2016-18, and I hope you get to follow them to the tourney next year.

Thank you Jackson Haigis and Angie DeRosa for showing me why production can be so fun. Thursday night is the best night, everyone knows that.

Thank you Dan Madigan, for being a kickass editor, an incredibly supportive friend and an excellent teacher. I learned so much from you when serving as the associate to the sports editor. You are the G.O.A.T.

Thank you Chris Hanna and Josh Buser, friends from day one until, well, now. The cleanliness of your writing saved me so much time as a copy editor, and as we all know, time is money. We made production awful for others at times, and I apologize for that. Go Yankees.

P.S. Chris is going to be knock-your-socks-off good as Editor-in-Chief next year.

Thank you to this year’s DC Sports staff, for putting in hard work every single day. You made my life so much easier, and with not many of you graduating, the story will be similar next year. Good luck to new sports editor Michael Logan and new associate sports editor Andrew Morrison, who will surely be a devastating tag team within a few weeks.

And thank you to my parents, of course, the best people in the world. To extend this section properly would require thousands of words, so to keep it to three: thanks for everything.

(Also Odell Beckham Jr. Keep doing you.)

The Daily Campus is awesome, and I would like to thank it for one more thing before signing off. It has made me a much more creative individual, and I would like to act on that.

About a year ago, I set out to accomplish three creative goals: record a solo hip-hop project, write a novel and direct a short film. I have accomplished the first goal, continue to plot the second and will certainly remain vigilant about opportunities for the third.

In the meantime, I hope I have kept your attention with this article. I’m not very good at sharing sentimental thoughts with others. I prefer listening to them and offering advice, with maybe a joke here or there. Whatever keeps the wheels turning smoothly.

With that, I’m signing off. Goodbye.  


Tyler Keating is the sports editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at tyler.keating@uconn.edu. He tweets @tylerskeating.

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