If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
Thank you to the Managing Boards of the Cavalier Daily under which I worked. Awarded too little acclaim for your accomplishments and saddled with too much backlash for your mistakes, you exuded a level professionalism I still struggle to emulate.
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
To anyone I unfairly skewered in a column, or anyone generally offended or unimpressed by my work: I apologize. Take solace knowing that I can barely cook Easy Mac without incident and didn’t learn how to properly tie my shoes until I was 12. In terms of basic human competence, you probably have me beat.
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
To Ashley Robertson, Matt Welsh and Ian Rappaport, whose encouragement instilled the courage I needed in order to throw myself into this sportswriting silliness. I would dream less bravely and think less soundly if not for your kindness in my younger, more complacent days.
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
Thank you to Tony Bennett, his staff and the Virginia basketball team, who have shown an entire community that good dudes can have their faith rewarded. Writing about the team — as correspondent in 2013, columnist this year — represents one of the great pleasures of my life, much less my Cavalier Daily career.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
Thank you to the numerous staff writers, columnists and associate editors with whom I had the pleasure of collaborating as Sports Editor. Your contributions — too often neglected by readers or mutilated by us editors — comprise the heart and soul of this sports section.
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
Thank you to the forgotten athletes at this school — the non-revenue sport superstars, the devoted club members, the runners and players seeking nothing but the thrill of running and playing. Too seldom though I chronicled your accomplishments, I marvel at your talent and commitment.
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
Thank you to my loving family. Your strength and grace has sustained me through many an occasion when I fell victim to the illusion that I have anything to complain about.
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
Thank you to Daniel Weltz, Zack Bartee, Michael Eilbacher and Charlie Tyson, for slowly but surely ridding me of the tendency to take myself too seriously. Although you pushed me to evolve as a writer, editor and even tongue-in-cheek tweeter, I’ll appreciate you more for making this newspaper gig a lot of fun.
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
Thank you to my friends. For reading the articles—or pretending to and telling me nice things anyway—but much more for providing the daily motivation to press on. I can do without the world’s recognition, but yours still means everything.
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Thank you to everybody else still reading this gorgonzola cheese slice of a parting shot, and who has read the Cavalier Daily sports section in the last three years. I hope this section made you a smarter, better follower of Virginia athletics. I hope that, at least once, I helped one of you deepen your understanding of sport — as a metaphor for life, as a societal mirror but most of all as something beautiful in and of itself. Never, ever be afraid to maintain that distance run.
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
Thank you to PawPaw, and to Dad. I thought you two would like this.
Fritz Metzinger was The Cavalier Daily’s 124th Sports Editor.