Colin Capece | Friday, May 13, 2022
As you may have guessed from the title of this final column, and from my almost unbridled excitement about the Marcus Freeman era for Notre Dame football, I’m a big letters guy. The tradition actually goes back a long way for me. At every single important moment in my life that I can think of, my mom has written me a letter to commemorate it, and I still have all of them saved in a drawer in my bedroom back home. Our first big fight when I was five (I wrote her a letter back in teal blue colored pencil that’s still on the inside of a kitchen cabinet door in our house), elementary school graduation, the first day of middle school, middle school graduation, the first day of high school, the day I got accepted into Notre Dame, high school graduation, leaving home for college before freshman year, the last day of Welcome Weekend, going back to college after fall break freshman year, going back to college for the COVID junior year after I had finally settled on a major, the first day of senior week and, I guess I’ll just go ahead and say, graduation day. Even before I could really understand the significance behind each moment, she wrote me a letter to make sure I would remember how I felt at the time, and that at every stop along the journey I could look back and see just how far I had traveled. This letter does the same exact thing.
However, this letter is also for all the people I’ve encountered in my time as a college student journalist that wrote me letters without realizing it. Working at The Observer has been one of the things that I’ve enjoyed the most over the last four years, and it’s one of the things that has defined me at Notre Dame. But the running joke among me and my Top 5 family is that it took a while for me to come around. Getting to where I am today has been like pulling teeth, as there have been multiple times where I’ve tried to stop working for the newspaper and stop writing altogether. The letters these people wrote me were never addressed directly to me like my mom’s, but they somehow kept me from leaving The Observer all this time. In chronological order, it’s my time to say thank you to…
You might not remember this but when I was home for Christmas after fall semester freshman year, you picked me up from Andrew’s house and told me I was too talented not to join the newspaper. We were sitting in the car at the New Highway-Old Willets light. I said what the hell, I love sports, I’ll give it a shot.
I reached out to you as the Managing Editor at the time and a graduate of my high school. You met me at Starbucks, used your gift card to pay for my coffee and talked to me for an hour about the paper. You said I could take some time to ease my way in, even though I probably didn’t need it. I was grateful for your belief in me and your time.
The first game I ever covered was a men’s lacrosse contest against Detroit Mercy at Loftus. I had absolutely no idea where to go or what to do. As the SID for the team, you were forced to help me. Instead of disregarding me as a clueless school newspaper kid, you kindly showed me the ropes and coordinated post game interviews.
I decided to stay on with the lacrosse beat my freshman year. Despite your status as a legendary Notre Dame coach with more than 300 Irish victories to your name, you treated me like a professional. You answered every text, every call, every post-game question (win or lose) with respectful honesty.
After I tried to walk away after freshman year, you texted me about working in the office as an ASE. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I said yes, but the job sounded like it wasn’t too bad. We worked a lot of shifts together before fall break of sophomore year and you were encouraging every time.
Fr. Kevin Grove
The note you sent me while you were on sabbatical in September 2019 uplifted me when I needed it. I didn’t really care at first if anyone read that first inside column I wrote, but knowing someone did changed my outlook on the paper forever. Instead of just going through the motions, I started putting more heart and soul into my work.
Much like Dad, you convinced me I had too much talent and had invested too much time to stop. Why not just apply for a spot on the Editorial Board and see what happens? Again, I was really scared about what I was getting myself into, but somehow, someway, you’re always right.
Maria, Mariah, Claire, Maeve and Sara
You guys did an incredible job of keeping the paper alive and well in the most challenging circumstances. You helped me through the Editorial Board application process and passed my name along to…
Adri and Evan
Words cannot describe how grateful I am that the two of you took a chance on an ASE who still doesn’t know how to use InDesign. And for still hugging me when I showed up to the AP style workshop an hour late in a Scooby Doo suit.
Issy and Nelisha
AME gang for life. Thanks for laughing at all of my terrible dad jokes and being two of the best friends I’ve ever had.
Manni, Aidan and Allison
For letting me finesse my way onto the football beat after three years of dodging it because I was “busy with school.” Despite the outcome, Phoenix was an amazing trip because of you.
Dunne Hall Room 314 (and supporting cast)
For giving me so much undeserved crap about my Jack Coan-Tyler Buchner takes and making me defend them over party size bags of Tostitos. You knew exactly what buttons to push to make me want to write more. Thanks for finally reading the paper this year.
Four years worth of people at The Observer
You made the SDH basement office a second home to me on-campus and someway, somehow, never quite let me slip away.
Colin Capece is graduating from Notre Dame with a degree in Political Science and minors in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy and Business Economics. In July, he will be heading to Oakland, CA to teach high school history with the Alliance for Catholic Education. Colin can be reached at [email protected]
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.