More likely than not, this will be the last newspaper article I ever write.
Yet over the past four years, I’ve been a part of the DP sports section in just about every imaginable way: a year as sports design editor, one sports photography assignment, a summer as sports editor and four years reporting on over a dozen sports.
Naturally, one may ask why I put myself through the long nights, the cold days, the criticism and the stress if I never even considered a future in journalism.
Until recently, I never really knew. The DP website credits me with 180 stories. But it took me until No. 178 to figure out the answer to my question.
Published on April 9 of this year, that article was my tribute to the late Coach Lake, Penn football’s biggest fan. Coach Lake’s memory will live on as a motivator, a friend and a fan.
No one represents a better role model for the ideal Penn fan, and no story I have ever written has been more meaningful to me.
Like Lake, I consider myself a diehard Penn supporter. That is why I signed up to write sports during my first month of classes and why I’ve stuck with it.
I’ve tried to separate Red & Blue Crew Neil from DP Neil, but the part of me that shines as a loud, chant-starting RBC member at games when I’m not carrying a notepad and recorder never disappears.
During my time at the DP, I’ve covered everything from the Rhodes Field turf to the men’s hoops coaching search. I’ve written articles on the brothers of three lacrosse players and spoken with three Olympians (and one gold medalist).
I’ve written columns on the now-defunct Philadelphia Soul’s Arena League Championship and Cornell’s NCAA Tourney run. I’ve been called homophobic, chauvinistic and just plain ignorant for what I’ve written.
Without fail, though, my favorite stories to write have been about epic Penn victories: women’s squash’s 2008 win over Princeton, the women’s lax team’s defeat of Northwestern, and the men’s soccer and football Ivy championship seasons.
I haven’t been able to drop my fandom even away from games. I was in awe when I chatted with the all-Ivy goalie at a charity soccer tournament and still find it exciting that I worked on my Econ homework with the starting quarterback. I was downright giddy that time the athlete bouncer let me into Smoke’s sans cover fee.
My four years with DPOSTM have been incredible, and I’ve spoken with so many people so much more talented and amazing than I am. Thank you to everyone who has helped turn my fan support into a legitimate extracurricular activity.
Thank you to everyone who has ever read one of my articles — and especially thanks to those of you who have reached out to compliment me. Nothing has meant more.
Thank you to my former editors, who tried so hard to teach me how to write a good sports story. And thank you to my co-editors on the 123, who kept me going through it all (especially one special copy editor).
But thanks most of all to the athletes, coaches and administrators I’ve spoken with over the past four years. It’s been an honor and a privilege to be a part of your community during my time at Penn.
I’ve reached the end of my career as a journalist. And it’s only fitting that the final words I write for this paper will be the one sentence I’ve thought during every game but have never been allowed to print.
Let’s go Quakers.
NEIL FANAROFF is a 2010 College graduate from Potomac, Md., and a former Design Editor of The Daily Pennsylvanian. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. After graduating, he will be moving to New York to work in economic consulting.Comments powered by Disqus
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