April 30, 2009

Ithaca Bees, Dreams, and Goodbyes

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I’ll say my farewells in a minute, but I have to vent first and no I’m not talking the Coors Light commercial type of way — even though that sounds like a tantalizing idea. What is up with these Ithaca bees? I just walked up college avenue, through the Ho Plaza to the library and I swear I had to swipe away at least ten bees from my face. I got people out here looking at me like I’m crazy because my arms are flailing all over the place wildly as I try and get them away from me. One, I never got stung before and I’m not cool with the idea of getting stung even once, it’s not in my life plan. Two, even IF I was to get stung, I’d be damned if it were by one of these steroid injected buzzing insects. Listen, back in middle school, I used to go on outdoor education trips. We’d take hikes, go in forests and see all types of nature but I never, I repeat, never saw the insects the size of the ones out here. What pisses me off more is that these are the disobedient type of bees. They don’t move when you try and swat them away, you can damn near hurl your book bag at them and they would still be there buzzing around, laughing at you. I’ve been waiting since Orientation week for nice weather and on a beautiful day like today. I walk up College Avenue, sunglasses on, mentally rejoicing in this last week of classes, banging music to optimal level from my iPod and then suddenly the bass and the lyric tune out and all I hear is this annoying buzzing in my ear. Something needs to be done about this. There must be something in the water. What’s clear is I need to get out of here … And with that said, the infamous farewell column.
“3 seconds left, Harrison at the top of the key, he shoot, he scores. Game’s over, Harrison wins the game! Harrison wins the game!” Back in middle school, when I was the tallest, strongest and best basketball player my age I knew, I thought I had a legitimate shot at making it to the pros. I would imagine suiting up for the Knicks and finally getting the team over that curse called, “The MJ years.” Foolish me. By the time high school hit, I knew it was over. I once the center with point guard skills who became the point guard with center skills and that just doesn’t work out for people aspiring to play professional basketball, let alone Division I. I still played basketball but I knew that if I wanted to stay close to the world of professional sports past high school, I would have to be a sports journalist because my game would soon become extinct.
So when it came time to apply for school, it was all about journalism and broadcasting. Maryland, Northwestern, Penn State and Syracuse were my top choices. But when you get into an Ivy League school, your mom isn’t just going to let you say no. I was probably the first kid to be sad to get into an Ivy. I walked around all day solemnly, long after getting my acceptance, wishing that Cornell did not invite me to spend my next four years in Ithaca. I remember trying to tell people that Cornell wasn’t for me. There wasn’t any newspaper writing classes, there was no student television station and no instruction from broadcasting professionals. People, especially elders, looked at me like I was crazy when I said Cornell wasn’t for me. I remember I came up here to visit and one of the Communication professors told me and my mom straight up, “you’re not going to get what you want here, you should go to Maryland or Syracuse.” Until this day, I’ll never forget that meeting. I even went down to Maryland, got them to put me into the school of journalism as a freshman through some counter arguments but it still wasn’t enough. When the women who left her home country of Jamaica and spent her whole life sacrificing for her first born son to get into an Ivy League institution, actually sees her dream of come true, you have no choice. I almost wished that I was more into law or business or something so I could make more sense of coming to Ithaca but I can’t fake it. I don’t have any passion for anything past journalism.

If I was any lesser of a man I would have cried. In fact, I probably should have a couple weeks later when University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill denied me. Yeah, you heard me correctly. UNC denied me, Cornell accepted me. You explain it, I can’t. I had it all set up. My good friend was going to be a freshman on the team the same year I got there. My cousin, who is now a sportscaster in Denver went there. Stuart Scott went there. Cover one of college basketball’s top schools for four years with my friend on the team … seemed like a hell of a plan. And after visiting him the weekend after they won the national championship recently, I’m not going to lie … I wish it would have been UNC who sent that acceptance letter and not Cornell.

But I digress. So I spent my freshman year relatively unsatisfied. Yes, it was freshman year so there was that whole new college experience that was fun to have. I had some real funny friends who made the time easy to pass by. But it wasn’t until my sophomore year until I finally got into the Cornell groove and I started to enjoy myself. No coincidence, I joined the Cornell Daily Sun my sophomore year. I started writing track articles and the education I didn’t get in the classroom, I got through the Sun. I was writing recaps and previews for football, basketball and all other types of sports. Granted, Cornell isn’t this big superpower sports school but it isn’t that bad. Hockey is always good. Lacrosse is always good. Football is always competitive and basketball now is. It definitely made the job easier.

As I grew in my Cornell Daily Sun status, I have been able to do a lot of cool things. I’ve interviewed Gary Bettman, Kevin Boothe, Allan Houston and have been able to start a whole new video department. I thank the Sun for empowering me and letting me do all the things I wish I could have done in the classroom.

If you read my column enough, you know for a fact that I am not cool with long columns. My dad always told me you want to leave them wanting more and with that being said, I am going to give my few shout outs and get out of here. It’s been fun.

To Cornell Basketball Seniors and Mr. Burris — I won’t miss you guys. That’s mainly because I plan to keep you guys as friends post-graduation. Thanks for always hooking me up, from giving me inside scoops, to inviting me out to party sophomore year when I could have just chilled inside my house. Plans for slope day?

To the entire Basketball team – Thanks for the memories. Thanks to your success I have been able to cover two NCAA tournaments. I even got to have a sit-down interview with ESPN’s Jay Bilas. All things that will vastly help me as I try to breakthrough in the broadcasting world. Keep doing it big.

To Muggy, Dav, Evan and the rest of the hockey team – I am not going to lie, I was never that big of a fan of hockey. The only time I was into it was when the Rangers were doing well. Coming to Cornell, you almost feel obligated start to like hockey and that’s what I did. But you guys are cool off the ice, which made cheering for you guys a lot easier. Keep doing work.
To Jeremy, Kevin and the athletic communication department – Thanks for always helping. Even when I wasn’t the most professional of journalist, you guys bared with me and always looked out for me. It is much appreciated.
To everybody at the Sun – If I decided to point everybody out, it would be too long and I would almost assuredly forget somebody. So to be safe, I’m just going to say this, all of you guys are A-OK with me. Stay strong. Those nights spent in the office will pay off. And to Cory, thanks for being a more responsible person than me because you know I did not want to even think about becoming sports editor. Thanks for carrying the torch. Keenan, just promise me you’ll keep your cool a lot easier. Need some tidbits on how to do so? Contact me. Elsa, I am very glad that I have met somebody who is as passionate about broadcasting as I am. I just wish we could find more of us on campus. Even if we never get the staff we need to make the video department what we want it to be, don’t let that stop you and what you want to accomplish for yourself.
To the soccer team – Take-A-Lauss Tuesdays will never be duplicated. It’s been fun chilling with you guys, keep working hard, it will pay off or at least you’ll have no regrets.
To everybody who has read my column – Thanks for the love. I can’t lie, when I’m outside on College Avenue during the weekend and somebody walks up to me and says, “Yo, nice column the other day,” it makes me happy.
I am forgetting a lot of people, I feel it now. But I am sitting here in this library and I think I’m five minutes away from going insane. All these people around me are probably busy studying physics or some real intellectual Cornell material and here I am, putting the final words in my column for the paper tomorrow. … I wouldn’t have it any other way.