My college career was sort of unusual. I know that there is no “normal” college path, but mine seemed to have more twists and unexpected turns than most.
I arrived in Rochester as a 17-year-old freshman who thought he was going to major in math and get a job using that degree in some capacity.
In the fall of my freshman year, I planned out my entire four years and figured out that I would graduate with a combined major in Mathematics and Statistics, a major in Economics, a certificate in Personnel Management, a minor in Computer Science and a cluster in Classics.
I was going to overload every semester and finish with more than 160 credits. Like I said, I was 17.
Change of heart
Over the next couple of years, several things changed.
When I took my first Economics course, I realized that I don’t like Economics. As I took more upper-level, and more abstract, math courses, I realized that I no longer liked Mathematics. I never even took a real Computer Sciences course.
One thing that did not change was my passion for sports.
I grew up in Springfield, Mass. and have always been a diehard New England sports fan.
My favorite sport is baseball and I am obsessed with the Boston Red Sox. In the fall of my sophomore year, I was in Philadelphia during Boston’s first-round playoff series against Cleveland. I couldn’t find a TV or computer with internet access to check on the game, so I called my parents long distance from a pay phone and made them stay on the line until the Red Sox’ half inning was over.
I have always enjoyed talking about sports and when I find somebody who disagrees with me about something in the sports world, I will argue with them for as long as their are willing.
My sophomore-year suitemates can tell you about the time I almost broke my hand because I got so irritated during a sports argument.
Beginning a career
So, when I dropped the bomb on my parents at the end of my sophomore year that I didn’t like what I was doing, I also told them that the thing I really loved, and wanted to have a career in, was sports.
Needing just three classes to complete my combined major in Mathematics and Statistics, I completely stopped and settled for a math minor.
The next problem was deciding what I was going to do for my final two years of college. I decided that the best way to try and break into the sports world would be through writing.
Unfortunately, UR does not have a Journalism major, so I switched my major to Philosophy, in which I had yet to take a single class.
I also sat down and talked with Jim Memmott, who teaches the three Journalism classes offered by the school. No matter what happens in the rest of my life, I will always be thankful to Jim Memmott.
He gave me the number of one of the Assistant Sports Editors at the Democrat & Chronicle and told me about a part-time sports position there for college students. I don’t know if he pulled any strings or not, but I got the job despite having no previous experience at all.
In the spring of my junior year, my path reached the Campus Times when one of the writers at the D&C suggested that I start writing here to get more practice.
After getting my feet wet that spring, I dove in head first in the fall. I will always be glad that I did.
Thank you seniors
On the next two pages, you will find short bios of 36 seniors who have had significant athletic careers here at UR.
Even if I had more than two pages to devote to the athletes, I’m sure I would have left at least one deserving person off the list. So, I would like to use what little space I have here to try and acknowledge as many more people as I can.
Matt Blenner lived next to me as a freshman and was one of my suitemates the following year. He was also one of the most unlikely football players you’ll see.
A little small for a football player, he dislocated his left shoulder more often than the football team won in his first two years. But he kept coming back and, after having surgery, got a chance to start as a junior.
Although he never adopted my plan to become the most exciting player at UR by committing a penalty on every play, he is one of the funniest guys I know and I am certainly glad to have known him these past four years.
Jen Keating played soccer her first three years here and then ran cross-country as a senior. She also served as the Sports Editor for the CT for two semesters and I had the pleasure of working with her briefly at the D&C.
Laura Vivier will certainly be shocked to know that I remember her talking with her boyfriend freshman year about how she was thinking of quitting the swimming team. Yet, here she is about to graduate with teammates Kelly Coulehan, Katherine Steifel, Becky Westerling, Claire Willscher and Alyssa Greenspan, having just finished four years on the team.
I’m sure Erik Dunki-Jacobs, Chris Lewis, Matt Abrams and Brian Schobel were among those who kept Jim Memmott’s classes stocked with baseball players, both by taking the courses themselves and by telling their younger teammates to register for them.
There are more student-athletes at UR than most people realize, and I wish I knew all of them and had enough space to help you know all of them. Instead, I’d like to thank all of the graduating student-athletes for making this campus a better place and wish them good luck in whatever they pursue next.
I would also like to thank the women’s soccer team and the men’s basketball team. They were the first two teams for which I covered every game of the season.
The fact that both teams were entertaining and successful just made the job that much easier. The willingness of coach Terry Gurnett and coach Mike Neer to talk to me at almost any time also made my life easier.
Like many of you, I’m not exactly sure what I will be doing after graduation. Whether I’m covering the Marshall University football team for the paper in Huntington, W.Va. or following high school sports for the Washington Post, I will have fond memories of my time watching and writing about many of you.
Never lose the competitive spirit that enabled you to forsake glory and free time for the sake of sport. In 30 years, when you look back at your life, you will be able to say that you played as hard as you could for as long as you could, and you will have no regrets about leaving the sports world before you wanted to.
Congratulations on thriving at UR for four years, and thank you for making my four years that much more memorable.