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Sunday, January 23, 2022

I've dreaded writing this column for a while now.

No, not just because I'm incredibly lazy, but because saying goodbye is something that has always been difficult for me.

My Alligator career did not have the storybook ending I envisioned when I ventured into the paper's open house more than three years ago without clips, experience or a clue of what I was getting myself into.

In fact, it appears that my experiment with sportswriting may be coming to an end. I don't question that I have the ability to do this for a living, but I do question whether I have the passion for this job to do it for the rest of my life.

But working for the Alligator has been something I will always remember and always treasure.

I've accomplished quite a bit over the past several years.

I've filled the role of reporter, columnist, editor, assistant editor and online editor for the sports department and covered everything from sports clubs to volleyball and baseball to football and men's basketball.

I've traveled to sporting events all across the southeast and covered the BCS National Championship Game in Arizona.

I've had articles published in newspapers and Web sites across the country, and I even got the chance to be interviewed on radio stations throughout the nation.

And I've somehow managed to piss off a lot of people along the way. I'll never forget the massive amount of hate mail I've received. I've been called just about every name you can imagine, and some of them aren't even true.

I have also been fortunate enough to cover a national championship football team from spring practice all the way through the trophy presentation, and I covered bits and pieces of a national championship basketball team. Getting a chance to document something like that is a sportswriter's dream, and I am thankful I got that opportunity.

I'll try to avoid turning this into something that resembles a lame Oscar speech, but there are some people I have to thank for helping me along the way.

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A big Bryan Out Loud thanks to Andrew Abramson for giving me a chance when nobody else would and for believing in me and doing everything in his power to help me succeed.

I'd also like to thank Louis Anastasis for giving me an opportunity to work alongside him during a hectic 2006 fall semester and showing me the ropes. You've been a good friend to me even if I don't agree with anything you say.

Jenna Marina and Brian Steele, thanks for always being people I could rely on when I needed help. I regret having had so many messes for you guys to clean up, but I'll never forget how unselfish you have been.

Watch out for Mike McCall someday. He is a rock star. 'Nuff said.

And finally, Nick Zaccardi, you have been the glue that has held the sports department together. Nobody works harder than Nick, and nobody has worked more unselfishly to help make the sports section something to be proud of. There is no doubt in my mind that he is the best college sportswriter in the country. Please make sure you check out his farewell column in Wednesday's paper.

But most importantly, I would like to thank the readers. There isn't much glory in this job. You'd be surprised how many times I have watched someone read my column in the paper with my picture right next to it and not even realize it was me.

But what was most important to me was that a story I wrote may have answered someone's questions, made someone chuckle, or best of all, made someone think.

I hope that at some point during the last few years I have been able to make your afternoon bus ride or Man's Food lecture just a little bit more enjoyable.

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