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That first meeting

| Friday, May 18, 2018

I remember it like it was yesterday.

I had just arrived at Holy Cross College for my freshman year in late August 2014. My older brother Cameron, who attended Notre Dame, urged me to go to the extracurricular fair the University holds at the beginning of every year to see if there was anything I found interesting.

I walked around the Joyce Center, going from table to table trying to find something that peaked my interest. I eventually came across The Observer’s table, and the people working there urged me to sign up.

I had written for my high school newspaper and enjoyed that experience. I decided “Why not?” So I put my email down on the form and signed up for the sports department.

I had no idea at that moment I had made one of the best decisions in my life.

On Sunday, September 14, 2014, I went to my first ever Observer sports department staff meeting. Being a Holy Cross student, I didn’t really know anyone else there, but I was welcomed with open arms by the staff and the other new writers. It was at this meeting I would meet Marek Mazurek, a fellow freshman who would become one of my closest friends during my four years at The Observer.

So many memories began with that one meeting.

I remember the first beat I worked at The Observer, covering interhall football with Marek. I also remember covering Saint Mary’s tennis, golf and basketball my freshman year.

I recall the night of Thursday, February 26, 2015, which was the annual Bruno’s Restaurant Night where The Observer staff goes in South Bend. That night was memorable for a number of reasons. I got to meet many writers who worked in the other departments at the paper, and that was also the night the infamous “The Dress” meme took the social media world by storm. There were so many arguments I was a part of that night (it was blue and black).

A couple of hours later, it was announced that Fr. Theodore Hesburgh had died.

I remember reading the special issue the paper printed the following day, and the one the following Monday. I was amazed by the in-depth coverage and careful attention to detail of each paper. It was then I realized just how talented my fellow writers were and how special this paper was.

I’ll never forget the experiences I’ve had because of The Observer, covering a multitude of sports from Notre Dame men’s and women’s tennis, swimming and diving and softball, to writing about the Baraka Bouts and individual football player profiles for the senior edition. I also had the opportunity to cover three Notre Dame football games on behalf of the paper: the Duke game in 2016, and the Georgia and Wake Forest games in 2017.

Perhaps my most memorable year on staff was this past year, when I received the honor of covering the men’s soccer, hockey and lacrosse beats. It was a privilege to work alongside my fellow beat members and cover the men’s soccer team during legendary head coach Bobby Clark’s last season, the hockey team on their way to an appearance in the national championship game and the men’s lacrosse team who recently won the ACC championship.

Most importantly, I want to thank everyone at The Observer for all the hard work they put into making each paper. I want to thank the editors and the people who worked in the office late at night for fixing my grammar mistakes and making me look smarter than I actually am. I want to thank everyone in the sports department for a memorable and unforgettable four years, especially Marek, Tobias Hoonhout, Ben Padanilam, Joe Everett, Meagan Bens, Connor Mulvena and Elizabeth Greason for working with me and entrusting me with writing stories for some of the major sports beats this past year. I also want to thank Mary Green, Zach Klonsinski and Greg Hadley for helping me become involved with The Observer during my freshman year. I want to thank the Notre Dame men’s tennis head coach Ryan Sachire, who I’ve worked with the past two years and who has been nothing but kind and welcoming to me every time we talk. Last but not least, I also want to thank the people who work in the news, scene, viewpoint, photo and graphics departments of the paper for helping to create outstanding papers each and every day.

My time at Holy Cross is coming to an end, and because of my time at The Observer, I want more than ever to go into sports journalism after I graduate. One last time, thank you to The Observer for helping me grow as a writer and a journalist.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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