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Goodbye, UDM, and thanks

By Michael Martinez
On April 18, 2012


Legendary sportswriter Red Smith once said column writing is easy: All you have to do is open a vein and bleed on the page.

I agree with Smith.

For four years, writing has been easy. It's realizing that I have to finally close the vein and stop the bleeding that's the hard part.

Sure, I know my writing career is far from over; it's just beginning. But knowing I'll no longer be with all of you every other Wednesday on the pages of The Varsity News is difficult.

I don't want to write this farewell column, but they tell me I've taken all the required classes for my majors and I have to graduate now. I suppose I'll listen.

But, before I go, I want to thank all of you for the experience of a lifetime.

I'll be eternally grateful to everyone who trusted a shy little freshman to bring you the news. We've grown together as friends and it's because of you that I am where I'm at today.

I've accomplished a lot since my first piece asked you all to "believe in now" in the fall of 2008. I've seen presidents and coaches come and go. I've talked with professional superstars and college walk-ons barely cracking the rotation.

I've seen some of you at your best-and at your worst. And, each time, you gave me the great honor and responsibility of telling your story.

You're the real stars in all of this. So what if I'm able to string a few sentences together? My articles only become memorable because of what you've shared with me.

I'd be a fool not to mention my world-class staff. If writing were a sport, each of them would make all-conference first team.

They've worked as hard as any big-college paper and, at times, sacrificed to help me realize my vision of what the paper should be.

Now it's their turn. Please give them the trust and respect you showed me four years ago. I know they'll make you proud.

Finally, I'd like to thank Professor Tom Stanton, without whom none of this would be possible. We've exchanged thousands of emails and phone calls, often at nights and on weekends, since he first offered me the position of sports editor before my freshman year began.

He's always been there to offer advice and keep me focused and motivated. It still doesn't feel right that I won't be consulting him on my next story.

He said he returned to the university in 2008 to carry on the legacy of his mentor, Neal Shine. Since then he's helped resurrect the journalism program, adding minors and bringing in respected professionals as guest speakers and instructors.

Professor, you were my first and best editor. Thank you for being my Neal Shine.

I'll always remember that I found my first true love at UDM-journalism. It's allowed me to blossom into the man I am today. Believe it or not, I'm a quiet and reserved person who'd rather shy away from social situations.

But, when I slip on that press pass, something changes. My little reporter's notebook has opened so many doors and has allowed me to meet so many people that I'd otherwise have never known.

The amazing stories I've learned have been well worth the long nights in the newspaper office.

I wouldn't trade a second of my college career-and that's because of all of you.

So thank you, and goodbye. It's been an honor writing for you.

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