I’ve thought about how my parting shot was going to go for about four years now.
In the spring of my first year, I never saw myself leaving the Sports section and figured I’d just recall a bunch of my favorite moments watching and covering various Virginia teams (which actually could have still worked!). Spring of second year, I was convinced I’d be elected editor-in-chief, so I was naturally going to be writing about all the cool new directions I took the paper. Third year, I found myself in the unfortunate position of not being editor-in-chief, so I pledged to write a bitter parting shot questioning the judgement of the paper. By fourth year, I had gotten over myself a bit, but the bitterness still would have oozed.
So it’s probably for the best I’m writing this in my fifth year, since I’m finally in a good place to appreciate everything The Cavalier Daily has given to me.
I don’t think I’ve ever had aspirations of becoming a professional journalist, but I’ve been obsessed with the field since high school. When I got to college, I needed a new activity to eat up my free time, as my days as a year-round high school athlete were finally up. I knew a lot about sports, a lot about news and a lot about the University, which made The Cavalier Daily a perfect fit. So I joined during the first week of classes in my first year.
Within the first month, I was writing for Sports and copy editing weekly. Truthfully, I really didn’t know what I was doing. In early October 2011, I got an email for Matt Welsh, the Sports editor at the time, critiquing one of my articles — a volleyball preview. He stressed to me “the importance of beefing up your points with background research and making sure that the article flows nicely from paragraph to paragraph and contains all the relevant info for the matchup.” So, basically, my facts were bad, my writing was bad and the content wasn’t all that relevant. Great.
But nearly 200 articles later, and at least four times that many edited, I’m pretty proud of where the paper took me. Covering News and Sports as a reporter was always thrilling, giving me access to interesting and successful people I wouldn’t have had any business speaking with otherwise. Later, as assistant managing editor, I really felt like I was making the paper a higher-quality product, ensuring the non-Opinion content was both accurate and readable. As News editor the following year, I loved being able to steer the direction of our content and actually manage something important.
And now, in my final year, I got to live out a long-time dream of being a weekly Sports columnist — a dream that started back in eighth grade when Rick Reilly’s backpage Sports Illustrated columns changed everything I knew about writing. Writing about an athletics program I’ve been following since age five was just gravy.
Perhaps more important than all of that, though, has been the relationships I made while on staff. I made more friends at the University through The Cavalier Daily than any other means, including my first-year dorm. Time spent in the basement of Newcomb was always a pleasure due to all the wonderful and intelligent people attracted to this paper. I loved how willing the editors above me were to help my writing and give me opportunities to get better, and I loved the feeling of doing the same with younger writers just a couple years later. And the parties were always a blast.
So as I move on in life, I’ll look back on The Cavalier Daily as the brightest spot in a very bright five years spent here at Virginia. Thanks to everyone who made that the case.
Finally, since a lot of people really appreciate seeing their names mentioned in things like this, special shout outs go to Kat, Aaron, Krista, Caroline, Charlie, Valerie, Ashley, Ian, Mike, Fritz, Daniel, Zack, Joe, Emily, Kelly, Andrew, Katherine, Rebecca, Sylvia, Mary Beth, Chloe, Julia, Thrisha, Rob, two Peters and at least three different Matts.
Matt Comey was the 124th assistant managing editor and the 125th News editor of The Cavalier Daily.