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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

When Mike McCall told then-Sports Editor Bryan Jones that he should give me a job at the Alligator despite having no experience, he thought he was doing me a favor.

But he wasn’t doing me a favor; he was doing the paper and all of its readers a favor. For the past three years, I have given the Alligator the best coverage of sports, or any other topic for that matter, it has ever had.

In a study that I made up, it was found that there is a 40 percent drop off in readership on days when I do not have an article in the paper.

So McCall deserves a thank you. Certainly, not from me though, but from all the readers who only got to experience my greatness because of him.

In fact, I really have no one to thank for my rise to prominence asd I say goodbye to the Alligator.

My first full semester at the paper, it was McCall along with Phil Kegler who were in charge of the sports section, attempting to “help” me.

They thought they would try to critique my writing and give pointers to a writer new to the field.

Again, their intentions were off. All they were doing was witnessing the beginning of The Next Big Thing in sports writing and taking notes on what they could be doing better.

Then, it was former Alligator writer Nick Zaccardi who jumped on the Bobby Callovi bandwagon. He would give me “feedback” on my stories without me even asking him.

He was more like a school girl who just got to meet Justin Bieber than an older writer.

My stories would just come back with comments like, “Great Job,” “You’re Amazing,” “I wish I was this good,” and “I want to have your children.”

Poor guy still can’t catch a break in the industry and is still living with his parents while waiting for his first job offer.

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Once I get out of this place, I will make sure to help him out.

The next person to join my fan club was Yahoo! Sports NFL writer Jason Cole. I decided to take his sports reporting class here at UF to pass on some advice to other future journalists who were aspiring to be as good as me. There was only so much I can do for those kids. After all, I have so much natural ability that just can’t be taught.

Little did I know, it wasn’t just the students trying to learn from me.

Cole also wanted some tips. Although he was once a great journalist, he has lost a step or two and was looking for a way to rejuvenate his career.

For those people who took that class with me, all of those things he taught us about being sports writers were actually advice I gave him before every class. Sorry Jason, I know I promised to keep it a secret but it is about time I get the credit I deserve. I can no longer allow you to continue your Milli Vanilli routine and take credit for something that is not yours.

Finally, and most surprisingly, professor Mike Foley became the most recent addition to people who are trying to join my entourage in an attempt to get something out of the money machine that is my career.

Usually, Foley sticks to the news sections of the paper and doesn’t worry too much about sports, so you can imagine, I was somewhat surprised — but when you are this good, you can’t be too surprised when someone is just trying to use you for their own gain — when

Foley began sucking up to me.

Students having been kissing his ass for years in hopes of him getting them a job, which was obvious because he knew from experience that a courtesy laugh at all my jokes would butter me up.

I still wasn’t sure what he would get out of being in my corner, but his intentions became clear when he recommended me for an internship at his former employer the St. Petersburg Times.

He can’t help himself but to spew out praise for the paper in every one of his class periods, and he just want to use me as an example as one of the greats his paper produced.

I have yet to decide whether I want to grant the old man his last wish from me.

Other people in the Bobby Callovi Fan Club who were not mentioned specifically in this column include: Kyle Maistri, Adam Berry, my mom and dad, my girlfriend, professor Norm Lewis and anyone who has ever read one of my stories.

While currently I can only label them as admirers, the young writers at the Alligator that were lucky enough to get my golden touch such as Anthony Chiang, Tyler Jett, Greg Luca and the five writers I hired out this semester have the ability to become half the writer I am, which is still a damn good thing.

So to all of you that have lived vicariously through me for the last three years, you’re welcome.

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