This swan song was very hard for me to write, let alone know where to begin. I've decided to start out by saying this is a purely self-indulgent exercise, so, dear reader, do know that going in.
I've been joking a lot lately that watching the bleachers go up on campus makes me feel like I'm watching people set up my death. It's morbid and silly, yes, but I think I've realized what I'm dreading is not as much leaving Columbia as much as it is saying goodbye to Spectator.
You see, I chose to come to this University for the wrong reasons and hated it for my first two years. Every break as I boarded a plane from Cleveland back to LaGuardia, I would ask myself, “How did I let this happen, again? Why am I going back to that hellhole?” Granted, I thought all of this because I was an introvert with only one friend (hi Jeanine!). I knew that I was the cause of my own unhappiness, not Columbia. Nevertheless, that awareness didn't change the way I felt about the place.
But that all changed late in the summer of 2012 when I was promoted to sports editor on the 136th managing board. I had already served as a deputy sports editor for Spectrum for a year, so this was a natural progression when someone had to step down. But I had no clue how transformative being sports editor would be for me.
I feel like nearly every good experience I've had at Columbia has come because of Spec. Being sports editor finally gave me a sense of purpose. It confirmed my desire to make a career out of sports journalism, which provided the inspiration for my senior thesis. And because of Spec, I not only met two of my best friends in the world, but also a host of other people whom I'm so happy to have gotten close with.
And I think this could come off as cheesy and insincere—though remember, this is a self-indulgent exercise—but it's the friendships I've made through this organization that made me stop regretting coming to Columbia.
I can't say every moment and every Spec experience was great, much like I can't say I was proud of the work we did in every single issue. But considering where I was, man, the good sure does outweigh the bad. I will always love this organization.
Others have said this, but as Spectator shifts to its new format in the fall, my only hope is that it retains its strong sense of camaraderie, especially in sports. With this year's sports editors reestablishing that culture—one I that must admit crumbled under my leadership—I don't doubt that 2875 Broadway will keep giving people like me that sense of purpose for years to come.
And now to close this column, as is tradition with sports senior columns, there are a lot of people I would like to acknowledge and thank.
First, thank you to Mrinal, Jim, Zack, Mikey, and Kunal for taking a chance on a young freshman as a columnist and blogger. And Mrinal again for being the mentor I needed but didn't deserve.
To Rebeka, thank you for getting me to be sports editor when you did. You taught me a lot more about this organization than you could possibly realize, and I'll always appreciate it.
To all of my former deputies, associates, and sports writers, thank you for all of the hard work you put in. Although I always tried, I don't think I could ever say “Thank you” enough for what all of you did each day. And to all of the associates, thanks for suffering through my singing.
To Dr. M. Dianne Murphy, Darlene Camacho, Pete Mangurian, Brett Boretti, Ilene Weintraub, and the numerous athletes, coaches, and SIDs I've worked with over the years, thank you for taking the time to meet with me and letting me get to know you. You all are the reason why sports journalism is so fun for me.
To all members of 136 and 137, thank you for your tireless, relentless work ethic. Whether you know it or not, you pushed me to want to be better.
To Kyle, thank you for dealing with the tardiness of my columns, and making sure they looked as good as they did every time regardless.
To “Mad Dawg” Madeleine, Radov, Kelly, Catie, Mel, and Ben, it has been such a pleasure getting to know all of you. If you all represent where the sports section is headed, it's got a very bright future.
To Muneeb, you are the one of the most kind, caring, and genuine individuals I have ever met. Thank you for allowing this old dog to continue to be a part of what you and Eli have created.
To Dan, Kiera, Megan, Lisa, and Laura, I am so, so glad to be able to count each of you as one of my closest friends. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your lives.
To Steven and Eli, I cannot imagine two better friends to work with, live with, and play with. I'll never be able to thank you enough. For everything.
And finally, thank you, Mom, for all of your love and continued support. You are the best parent I could ever hope for, and I am grateful every day that I can call you my mother.
Myles Simmons is a Columbia College senior majoring in American Studies. He was a deputy Spectrum sports editor for the 135th and 136th volumes, a sports editor for the 136th and 137th managing boards, and a sports columnist for the 135th, 136th, and 138th volumes.