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Monday, March 04, 2024

I get overly sentimental about sports.

Whether I’m watching one of my favorite athletes in his or her final season or witnessing a historic achievement, I always try to realize the magnitude of the moment and appreciate it to the fullest.

But I’ve never shared that same attitude about my own life.

Maybe it’s because I don’t like change, or because change is easier to accept if you don’t make it a big deal.

Or maybe, deep down, there’s too much at stake in the real world, and rather than get overwhelmed by that fact, I prefer to spend my emotions in the sports world where the consequences aren’t really that important.

Regardless, I’ve had far too many people over the last few months ask me questions like "Are you going to miss college?" or "How does it feel to be moving on to the next stage in your life?"

Honestly, I’d rather not think about it, thank you.

But it’s difficult to write a goodbye column without being sentimental, and the ingredients are so readily available.

There’s my first interview when I applied to the Alligator, scared to death that my resume wouldn’t pass muster with the sledgehammer editing duo of Jordan McPherson and Eden Otero.

There’s my first time covering a soccer game when I mistook UF goalkeeper Taylor Burke for a striker and asked her to describe the goal she hadn’t scored.

There’s the time I conducted a 30-minute interview with gymnast Kytra Hunter only to have my recorder conk out and delete the whole thing.

There’s also the time I went to Southeastern Conference Media Days with Luis Torres and asked Steve Spurrier about his golf game.

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And how could I forget peeing in the urinal at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium next to Verne Lundquist when Florida hosted Tennessee, or getting to witness Death Valley and driving back from Baton Rouge in Graham Hall’s Prius in under eight hours so I could catch the end of a NASCAR race.

I look back on those memories and many more with fondness. They’re times I’ll never forget.

But I hate thinking about them like that, because it means they’re over.

And really, they aren’t over because the friendships I’ve made will continue long after we stop working at the Alligator.

That’s how I prefer to look at it, at least. That way I can save my emotions for the next time Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins a race.

Graham Hack is a sports writer and a UF journalism senior. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @graham_hack24

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