After four years, hundreds of Marist sporting events, countless hours of work, and one global pandemic, it’s finally time to say goodbye.
Since the fall, this moment has been steadily approaching. Now that it’s here, I don’t know what to say.
That’s a lie. I have plenty of things to say about my four years covering Marist for Center Field. I just don’t know where to start.
I could go in chronological order—from beginning to end—but that sounds boring. I’ve done a lot of work, written and looked over hundreds of stories, and gotten to go to some pretty cool places for this publication.
But to me, it’s more about the people, the friends I met, the connections I made, and the bonds that will never be broken because of four years spent in Poughkeepsie. I have everyone from Will Bjarnar and Lily Caffrey-Levine, who were in charge when I was a freshman, to Dan Aulbach and Luke Sassa, who will be taking over next year, to thank for where I am today.
For four years, our office in Lowell Thomas 141 was a sanctuary where anyone could come shoot the breeze about whatever they wanted. From early in my first year to the end of this one, I eagerly looked forward to our general meetings on Wednesdays at 11 a.m.
I never knew what I was going to find in our cast of characters or what the discussion was going to be. It was strange going from a participant to the one running the meetings, but the expectation was always clear: we can have a good time, but remember why we’re here.
Center Field, of course, exists to cover Marist Athletics like never before. In my four years, we’ve done some pretty serious stories on topics like domestic violence, sexual assault, and racism. Our critics will say we revel in covering those stories, that we do it for the clicks. But that’s not true, we write them because that’s our obligation as student journalists.
And we’ve paid the price for those stories. I’ve paid the price for those stories. This semester has been a particularly difficult one. As we celebrated our fifth birthday, we had our club charter rejected by Marist’s student government in February. It all came back to a controversial story that was true but hurt feelings.
Then, in March, a current and former Marist athlete showed up at my on-campus apartment and attempted to menace and intimidate me into taking down a story. It was a scary experience but the story remains on the site.
Even though this hasn’t been the best personal semester for me, I’m still damn proud of the work we’ve done. I’m also proud of the relationship we’ve built with the athletic department. It might have gotten off to a rocky start in 2018, but I can say that today it’s built largely out of mutual respect and fairness.
A special thank you goes to head sports information director Mike Ferraro, who has always been fair to us and has endured a few too many long phone calls with me.
Through the good times and the bad, I owe everything to the writers, editors, and faculty members that stood by me, but more importantly, stood by Center Field. There’s our terrific faculty advisor Leander Schaerlaeckens, whose name I can now spell without the help of Google. Leander has been here for us at every time of asking. Without his guidance, I don’t know where we’d be today.
There’s also the other sports communication and journalism faculty—Kevin Lerner, Zach Arth, Chris Riviezzo, and Kathy McNulty—who support us day in and day out.
Thanks to our wonderful staff, from the strong senior class to the freshman who are still finding their voice. Their participation and willingness to get involved have made Center Field the best journalistic outlet on campus.
And then, there’s our editorial staff, who I have to thank for putting up with my crap on a daily basis. Many of them balance beats and feature writing with editing, which requires a lot of commitment. Our editors—Ricardo Martinez-Paz, Andrew Hard, Dan Aulbach, Luke Sassa, Issy Cicinelli, and Christian De Block—have stepped up to the plate this year and knocked it out of the park.
Our social media and graphic design team—Jarod Rodriguez and Gabby Bean—has been brilliant, designing our second print magazine and the new logo you see on our site and our socials.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
What does the future hold? For Center Field, that’s not up to me to decide. For Marist Athletics, I genuinely hope they don’t get left in the dust when it comes to the new regulations sweeping across college sports. Name, image, and likeness has already made it to the MAAC and if Marist doesn’t adapt, it will become even harder to compete in the big sports.
I hope our writers continue to put out great human interest stories while not shying away from asking tough questions about Marist Athletics. After all, you can do one while staying attentive to the other.
So that’s it for my ramble. I have nothing but gratitude for everyone who has supported us in my four years. I am always touched when someone takes me aside or writes an email offering kind words and support.
And for the haters, the intimidators, and silencers of free speech, I have some words for you.
But I don’t think I can say them in print.
Edited by Ricardo Martinez