When my first sports editor at the Kansan told me I'd be covering swimming and diving, he half-expected me to be disappointed. It isn't one of the more coveted beats, like men's basketball and football. The team, at that point, didn't have a whole lot to write home about.
But I couldn't have been more excited. Having been a swimmer myself, I was ecstatic for the opportunity to not have an additional learning curve.
When I received that call on that cold December day, while standing outside of Budig 120, my semester had been made.
Little did I know how much the Kansan would have an effect on me. I've met some of my closest friends because of the Kansan. Heck, one of my roommates is someone I met because of the good ol' UDK. The Kansan launched my journalism career. Without the Kansan, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to write for The Associated Press or the Topeka Capital-Journal. And there would have been no way that I would have landed an internship with the Washington Post.
My first event I covered for the Kansan was to take pictures at a track meet at Nebraska. All of the pictures were garbage. The last event I covered for the Kansan was a volleyball match against Nebraska. I guess you could say it's come full circle for me.
As I'm sitting here a full two years later, I've written 173 (counting this one) articles for the Kansan. Yes, I've counted. During my time here, I've covered swimming and diving, softball, volleyball, some track and field, as well as baseball and soccer.
And every moment, though sometimes stressful, was enjoyable.
I had the opportunity of covering the first Big 12 champion in Kansas swimming and diving history. I covered the first time a Kansas team played Missouri after its departure for the SEC. I was fortunate enough to interview Max Falkenstien for an hour about the history of Kansas basketball. I covered the storming of Massachusetts Street and the subsequent tearing down of the goal posts when the Royals won the World Series. I was at the watch party when Kansas volleyball found out its No. 9 seed. I sat on press row as the Jayhawks played in their first ever Final Four.
After Kansas volleyball lost to Nebraska, I conducted my interviews as was routine, then found a quiet space by myself to crank out my game story. In that moment, I just needed to be alone. Change is hard. I knew it was inevitable, the volleyball season had to end at some point. But with the loss came the reality that my time at the Kansan was over.
But this isn't about me. It's about the athletes and the coaches and the people I've had the blessing of interacting with. I couldn't do the things I do without the wonderful KU Athletics SIDs (sport information directors) and sports teams. Y'all are the ones that make it happen. I just write about it.
Thank you to all my past editors (Schustee, Felder, Brian, Shane, George, Blair, Scott and Christian). Thank you to all of my fellow writers over the years. There are too many of you to name, but know I appreciate every one of you. Thank you to all of the athletes and coaches who put up with me hanging around, especially Coach Campbell, as I worked with you the longest, and to Coach Bechard for the amazing opportunity to cover the best volleyball team in Kansas history. I'll never forget this season. Thank you to everyone who read one of my near-200 stories. The first ones were a little rough, but that's the process, you get better as you go.
I'm not physically going anywhere. I have three more semesters (knock on wood) at Kansas left. I'll still be at all the basketball and football games writing for the AP.
Thanks again for putting up with me for these past couple years. It's been a good run. I'm most definitely going to miss it.