In a recent Phoenix staff meeting, our staff advisor Katie Drews told us we should start thinking about the stories we’ve been wanting to do and start to work on them, considering we have only a few months left.
As I check the men’s basketball coverage schedule and see only two home games remain for me after three and a half years on The Phoenix, it’s starting to kick in for me that my time left here is limited. It’s given me the chance to reflect on what was, what could’ve been and what little time is ahead of me.
When I was in high school, I was my school newspaper’s resident sportswriter, always having something to say about national and international teams. It’s funny to look back on that very low-stakes position now, considering I eventually got the position I’ve wanted since I came here — The Loyola Phoenix’s sports editor. However, nobody’s kidding when they tell you to stop and soak it up once and awhile, because it really does pass by in the blink of an eye.
I know any college student could tell you about the opportunities COVID-19 has taken from them, so I won’t bore you with my personal stories on that. But, while it’s difficult sometimes to look back on moments from the pandemic that I won’t get to redo, it sometimes helps me push forward.
Aside from assistant sports editor Amelia Ickes and I, no one on our section has seen a full year of college untouched by COVID-19 — which is strange to just think about. Yet they’ve relentlessly covered tough games, taken opportunities to write more in-depth stories, asked the hard questions and pitched us ideas more creative than ones we ran before the pandemic hit.
It serves as a reminder that while I’m lucky enough to play this role, I might as well make the best of it — my section sure does. And it’ll only be mine for a little while longer.
I’ve been lucky enough to work with some wonderful journalists and friends during my time at The Phoenix, and they’ve all left me with invaluable advice and experience that’s made me the journalist I am today. They’ve shown me what it means to be confident in my abilities and push forward, and I’ve always felt like I had some big shoes to fill taking over this position.
Now, especially in my last few issues, I want to be sure I’m using it the best I can — pushing for the hard stories, putting out the best possible content we can and enjoying my last few months of covering college basketball as a student reporter. I may forever be sad COVID-19 robbed me of traveling to the 2021 March Madness tournament, but it doesn’t have to rob me of the great work I can still accomplish here.
I have a mental list of the stories I wanted to do through the years but never had the chance or the confidence, and I’m facing the harsh realization that I’ve run out of time — or, in some cases, the circumstances themselves that changed due to COVID-19 — to make them a reality.
But when I eventually leave Gentile for the last time, I want to make sure I spent my last opportunities to make a difference with my writers — or within myself — in the best ways I could. COVID-19 might have taken some good years from what we could’ve done, but it doesn’t mean we can’t finish out strong before our time here is over.
I’ve got a lot of things to do before my final college basketball season comes to a close and Amelia and I set off for our lives beyond Loyola. Thanks for joining me on the ride, Phoenix sports readers, I hope you enjoy the finale.