Senior Goodbye: Matt Flegenheimer | Nine out of ten ain't bad




A former Penn basketball coach, who shall remain nameless — let’s just call him Len Schmiller — had a theory about this here newspaper.

“If the DP runs 10 stories on us,” he told me once, “nine are going to be negative.”

Ironic gripe, I thought to myself, for a man with nine losses in his last 10 games.

And that, of course, was my big mistake: I thought it. No more! With but 350 words to spare before my editors send me to the glue factory — er, glorious, sun-lit farm upstate, where past-their-prime DPers can roam free — I submit the following things I should have said a long time ago:

Farewell columns that descend into list form are disgraceful cliches — the likes of which no self-respecting writer would ever allow. My bad.

Another cliche: Alumni and administrators who carp about student attendance at sporting events. If a much-hyped film bombs at the box office, should the studio blame the audience?

The Palestra is actually pretty cool. Also, Penn Relays. Check ’em out. It’s good to be an alumnus.

I wrote a column once telling everyone to start going to women’s lacrosse games. I have never been to a women’s lacrosse game. But I hear good things.

John Cole. Helluva skipper. Motivates. Competes. Throws strikes. Timely hits. Subject. Predicate.

For a good 18 months on the men’s basketball beat, my reporting game plan devolved into: Go find Tyler Bernardini, turn on recorder, get out of the way. No regrets.

When I covered women’s hoops, I spent the entire season convinced I could play quality minutes for the team. Then I remembered what my father told me in middle school. “Son, you’re not fast,” he’d say. “But at least you’re short.”

Jerome Allen had an awkward moment once, just to see how it feels.

Glen Miller did, too, except his lasted 97 games.

Successfully wedging the word “schadenfreude” in a 30-character headline space remains my proudest journalistic accomplishment to date.

The DP has given me far more than I could ever give back. Somewhere, a dozen editors, spanning three spurned editorial boards, are nodding in unison.

Friends and family can attest that my sanity is a moving target. Without them — that means you, M and D, JT, DGP and MM — I would have likely surrendered to self-flagellation long before I sat down to write this.

Flagellation is a funny word.

If the DP runs 10 stories, nine will be better than this. Nothing like going out on top. Isn’t that right, Len Schmiller?

MATT FLEGENHEIMER is a 2011 College graduate from New York. He can be reached at mfleg@sas.upenn.edu. After graduation, he will work this summer at The New York Times.

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