Austin Odenbrett’s senior goodbye

I’ve always thought of sports journalism as an escape from the real world.

While bad things happen on campus, close to home or across the world, there’s always a sports story that — for at least a few minutes — takes the reader away from all the negative news and just allows them to be entertained.

That’s why The Whit’s sports section means so much. It allows you to forget that Chris Christie is our commencement speaker, the arrests of students just off campus, or how completely terrible the parking is.

As sports editor, I made it my job to make sure the student body could get caught up in whatever the terrific Rowan athletes and coaches — who put countless hours into their craft — have been doing. I wanted to provide you with the reactions behind the games, and the stories that no one else was talking about.

Personally, though, The Whit has been something entirely different.

When I came to Rowan as a freshman in 2010, I expected the school newspaper to be a solid way to gain writing experience, some clips  and to maybe meet fellow journalism students.

It was that, and then some. But I never could have expected four years later how big of a part of my life it would become.

As it comes time to look back at Rowan, The Whit will be what I remember. It trained me for a career in journalism. It was what helped me get internships and eventually a job. And, it was where I met some of the most brilliant people I’ve ever come across.

To Christian Hetrick, Kevin Kunzmann and Ryan Hagerty, I honestly don’t know where I’d be without you guys. I’ve never enjoyed talking about sports, or life, for that matter, with anyone more than the three of you. It doesn’t matter that we’re splitting up, I have no doubt that we’re going to remain friends for years to come.

Kate, Sam, Jeremy, Erica, Lauren and Megan — and every other poor soul who had to deal with me — I want to start off by saying I’m sorry for all the things you guys have had to put up with. But in all seriousness, I consider you like family and this journey was what it was because of you. There are too many memories to pick out one, and I’m getting depressed just thinking about how I won’t get to see your faces every Wednesday night.

Last but not least, to the countless writers, professors and volunteers who make The Whit what it is. As a staff, we are eternally grateful for what you allow us to do on a weekly basis. The fact that we’re able to put together a newspaper every Wednesday night is mind-blowing, but when you consider all the hard work that’s put into it behind the scenes, it’s suddenly much easier to understand.

I’ve never really been good at goodbyes, and to be honest, I don’t really feel like I need to say one now. The Whit will always be a part of who I am and who I was, and for that opportunity, I thank you.

For comments/questions about this story, email editor@thewhitonline.com or tweet @thewhitonline.

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