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Friday, April 12, 2024
Topher Adams was the Fall 2023 assistant sports editor at The Independent Florida Alligator.
Topher Adams was the Fall 2023 assistant sports editor at The Independent Florida Alligator.

I left The Alligator a year ago, almost to the day. 

For two semesters last year, I worked on The Alligator Sports staff covering lacrosse and football. It was a blessing and an honor to be a part of this staff, but I was done with this place.

My relationship with journalism is a mixed bag. There’s a lot I love about working in sports journalism and getting to be a sports writer. But there’s also a lot of parts of reporting that I hated, and I failed a lot my first two semesters here.

My frustrations and failures reached a breaking point, and I planned on leaving after the Fall semester. I didn’t even re-apply for the Spring.

A year later, I’m writing this goodbye column after serious deliberation and consternation on whether this was actually the end. There was a real thought to come back for one last ride with an organization that means so much to my life.

But it’s time to move on, for real this time.

Last December, I was in an Ulta Beauty in Orlando. While strolling aimlessly through aisles of fragrances assaulting my nose searching for a gift, my phone rang. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was one of the most impactful phone calls of my life.

Kyle Bumpers, who I worked with that Fall and had been named sports editor for the Spring, called and asked if I’d be interested in rejoining the desk as a women’s basketball beat reporter and second assistant sports editor.

I’d applied for some other internships and opportunities, but nothing really materialized. Despite everything I hated about working for The Alligator my first two semesters, I still enjoyed being around the people here. So, I decided to come back.

The Alligator gave me a second chance in college, but I didn’t realize it till my second chance at The Alligator.

For two years, I was lost. High school revolved entirely around band and the end goal of getting into college. The pandemic ended my band career, and college was achieved. Those first two years at UF, I lacked direction.

The Alligator gave me a community and a purpose for the first time since high school. I didn’t get it at first, but frankly I didn’t put enough into this place to understand what I was a part of yet.

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I’ve now written over 140 stories for The Alligator across four semesters. I’ve covered football, basketball, baseball, lacrosse and one swim event. I’ve spent countless hours in a press box watching the Florida Gators, live tweeting and writing stories. 

There are so many games, moments, stories and trips I’ll cherish for a long time. But I’ll forget all 140 stories and every game I covered here before I forget the people that made this place matter.

The Alligator, for me, is the people. It’s a place where I met fantastic people and had a wonderful excuse to spend 10 hours every Sunday getting to know them. This job can be a lot of work, but I always looked forward to print nights to work and spend time with these people.

The people are why I decided to come back last Spring, and they’re the reason it’s hard to say goodbye now. As cliche as it may be to say, there’s something special about the culture and community at The Alligator.

I don’t regret leaving now, the time is right for a change. But I’m eternally grateful to have gotten a second chance at my second chance. I’m grateful to have spent the last two years with people like Kyle, my current sports editor, Jackson Reyes and too many people to thank here.

Whatever the second act of my career turns into, or wherever this industry takes me after graduation, I’ll always be grateful for the second chance that got me to where I am now.

Topher Adams was the Fall 2023 assistant sports editor at The Independent Florida Alligator.


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Topher Adams

Topher Adams is a fourth-year communications major and in his fourth semester with the Alligator. He previously covered football, baseball and women's basketball. He also enjoys professional lacrosse and Major League Soccer.


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