Nick Knacks

Column: After Four Wonderful Years, I Bid Thee Farewell

Courtesy of Nick SchultzOutgoing Phoenix Sports Editor Nick Schultz poses with a commemorative sign in front of his house to celebrate his graduation from Loyola.

When people say the four years of college fly by, they aren’t lying.

It feels like yesterday I was walking into the Norville Center for Intercollegiate Athletics for my first interview as a spry first-year sports writer for The Phoenix. I’ll never forget it because that was the day I got stuck in an elevator in the Mundelein Center. Fortunately, that was the only time that happened to me in that place.

Now, here I am, a cranky old man writing 600 words as I bid farewell to this 51-year-old paper which has been so good to me. Oh, what a roller coaster ride the last four years have been — and it was the best roller coaster ride of my life.

I can’t believe it’s over. This journey that started four years ago when I left my small-town home for the big city has come to an end. Hopefully, another one will start soon. In the meantime, I’ll be spending quality time with the family as we ride out Illinois’ stay-at-home order and playing golf with my siblings while I take my first breather in four years.

But for now, I have time to reflect.

Every editor and writer I’ve worked with along the way has made a lasting impact on my life and career. I’ve learned so much over these last four years and I wish I could thank them all by name, but that’d make this way longer than you’d probably like it to be.

Emily Rosca | The Phoenix Outgoing Phoenix Sports Editor Nick Schultz (center) poses with Assistant Sports Editors Abby Schnable and Kyle Brown at the 2020 ICPA convention Feb. 22.

I also want to thank you, Rambler Nation (“Blers Mafia”), for reading. You’ve made this roller coaster ride worth it — and that’s saying something, since I’m terrified of roller coasters.

When I got to Loyola, I had less than 300 Twitter followers and didn’t tweet about much except Cubs baseball. Now, I have more than 1,100 followers, many of whom are Loyola faithful. You’ve trusted me and The Phoenix as one of your sources for Loyola sports news. To quote Forrest Gump, “Even I know that ain’t something you can find just around the corner.”

Thank you for the hot takes on social media. Thank you for saying hello at games. Thank you for helping make these three and a half years the best of my life. 

Most of all, thank you for calling me out for my column saying DePaul University had taken Loyola’s crown as the “king of college basketball.” I said I wouldn’t apologize until the end of the year, so… sorry about that.

I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. This certainly wasn’t how I envisioned my tenure at The Phoenix ending. I was planning on going to men’s volleyball matches, softball games and the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) men’s golf tournament, which was scheduled for this past week before the COVID-19 pandemic took away our sports.

Courtesy of Nick Schultz Outgoing Phoenix Sports Editor Nick Schultz poses after Arch Madness 2020 at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis.

But you play the hand you’re dealt, I guess. Look at the bright side, at least I’ll always remember the last two months of senior year.

In four years, I’ve covered four MVC men’s basketball tournaments and an MVC softball tournament amid countless Rambler sporting events. Most importantly, I covered the 2018 NCAA Tournament, which managed to overtake the Cubs’ 2016 World Series victory as the highlight of my college career.

Yeah. I’m a lucky guy.

To say I’m blessed and grateful is an understatement. But the hourglass has to run out sometime — for me, that time is now. I don’t know what my next adventure will be yet, but I can assure you I’ll still be following Loyola Athletics one way or another. Shoot me a tweet to keep me in line.

From the bottom of my heart … Thank you.

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