Well, I guess this is it. My time at The Daily Campus is now coming to an end, and so is my time at UConn.
After spending my first two years at UConn’s Hartford campus, I made the transfer request to Storrs for two reasons: the first being the fact that only Storrs offered journalism courses – unlike Hartford – and the second being that I wanted to start writing for The Daily Campus. Sure, you could say I could’ve started earlier, but I didn’t see the point in a one-hour round trip to Storrs for a half-hour meeting.
Anyways, I was pretty nervous entering my first Sports meeting. I didn’t know anyone there, let alone know anyone from Hartford who also wanted to write for the newspaper and I also saw little to no articles about soccer. I feel like a broken record, but I only know and breathe soccer (I will say this has gradually changed, but not by much). Because the men and women’s soccer beats were taken by people who were at The Daily Campus before me, I was left with a weekly “Around the American soccer” column. Not to toot my own horn, but I thought I did a decent job at the start of the semester with it.
Some time after befriending colleagues in the department, as well as easing into Storrs and writing for a newspaper, I felt I could do more to expand the soccer representation in the section aside from the collegiate teams. After talking to my colleagues and then-editors Andrew Morrison and Kevin Arnold about the idea, since collegiate soccer was coming to an end, I started to write my own columns. To me, this was the highlight of my early journalism career.
As my writing improved over the months, I was given the opportunity to cover women’s lacrosse for the 2020 season with Jon Synott, who will be the associate editor for Sports at the start of next semester. We were both new to the sport, but I was excited because it opened my eyes to a new sport and would enhance my writing skills. However, 2020 was probably the worst year to give that a whirl. I don’t think I need to go into further detail about what happened.
At the start of the 2020-2021 school year, professional soccer had already made a return, with the exception of no fans. While I continued my columns about professional soccer across the pond under the new name “Hey Dave,” I also covered Hartford Athletic with my “From the Capital” series – I’m keeping that name post-DC, by the way. Keeping a tab on the Connecticut club was such a fun experience, especially when I was able to see games like their quarterfinal playoff match in-person. With all of this excitement came my promotion as a staff writer.
I was fortunate enough to cover two more UConn sports before heading out the door, the first being UConn men’s hockey with Tim Keaten. I’ll admit, my writing wasn’t all that good while on the beat – or at least I believed that it wasn’t – but at least the ice bus got one more fan. Watching the team perform massive comeback games in their UMass, Boston College and UMaine series, for instance, were thrilling experiences.
The second was men’s soccer. To say it was the team I heavily looked forward to covering since my arrival would be an understatement; until they got a few games in, that is. Being in the new and improved Morrone Stadium was a blessing, and I hope fans – whenever they’re allowed in – will enjoy it as much as I did. If you’re wondering about my thoughts on their season, however, I’ll leave you with the infamous Jose Mourinho quote:
“I prefer not to speak. If I speak, I’m in big trouble, in big trouble, and I don’t want to be in big trouble.”
Now I don’t want to take all the credit for incorporating the professional side of soccer in our section, since people prior to my arrival at the DC did that, but I more so reinvigorated it. I hope that whoever comes to the section next semester will continue to showcase the beautiful game, even at its lowest points.
There are so many people I can thank for helping me get to the journalist I am today, whether it be my past editors, my current editors Danny Barletta and Conner Gilson or colleagues like Mike Mavredakis and Jorge Eckardt, but it comes down to the readers of my articles as well. Upon my arrival, I had the assumption that most people didn’t really care about soccer except for a small group. The readers helped change my viewpoint on that, but us soccer fans have a long way to go to make the sport at the same level as basketball or football here in the states.
I wish nothing but the best to those who will continue to write for the DC, especially the department’s future editors Jon Synott and Ashton Stansel. Just like regular sports, e-sports will continue to massively grow in popularity, and I believe Ashton helped open the door for it here at UConn. Jon’s done fantastic work with his MLB articles and his continued coverage of women’s lacrosse. Hopefully it wasn’t as confusing this time around as it was for us last year, Jon!
So, what’s next for me? Well, honestly I don’t know. I’ve applied to some places for an internship, but like the beauty of the real world, I never heard back from them. I recently applied to a couple more places, so fingers crossed I actually get a phone call or email from them. I’m 98% likely to continue to write about Hartford Athletic and soccer in Europe, regardless if I have a job in the sports realm or not, so hopefully you’ve followed me on Twitter by this point to stay up to date. That totally isn’t a shameless plug, or anything.
The future is bright for the majority of us, but for me, I’m still getting there. Maybe not having a sports job right after graduating is a sign that something big will come in the future. We shall see, especially given the fact we’re still in a pandemic.
See you later, UConn nation. Take it easy.