Goodbye after four years

Bryan Roy

We were walking across the Honda Center parking lot. Two rows over, about 30 feet away, someone spotted me and got all excited.

“”Hey Bryan Roy!””

I looked over as he shouted.

“”Nice job picking Duke!””

Full sarcasm. The kid was in a small group of UA students tailgating before the Elite Eight in Anaheim, Calif. Two days earlier in these sports pages I had picked Duke to beat Arizona.

“”Hey, thanks!”” I yelled back.

I smirked and kept stride.

“”Do you know that kid?”” fellow Daily Wildcat hoops writer Kevin Zimmerman asked.

“”Nope,”” I said.

We laughed until we realized, believe it or not, how often we underestimate the power of these sentences we write.

Our conversation then shifted to how, just two days ago, nobody believed Arizona would beat — no, crush — Duke and play Connecticut for a trip to the Final Four.

And just four years ago, I never believed I would be covering it.

This is the part of goodbye columns that can go real cliché real quick: Boring reflections about how four years go by so quickly, how working at the Daily Wildcat was the experience of my life, how I got to travel all around the Pac-10 and take two Sweet 16 trips, yada yada yada.

I could make this even worse by dropping inside jokes from Starr Pass pool parties, or self-promoting the bylines and awards I won during eight semesters here.

Instead, I’ll offer a few thank-yous.

  • First, thank you Syracuse University for denying me. I’ll take 85 degrees and sunny every day of the week (as if we had a choice, HA!).
  • Thank you Jamelle Horne, the four-time pick of “”Team X Factor”” in our basketball guide. From the tragedies to the triumphs, who has left Arizona with a more unique and polarized experience?
  • Thank you Derrick Williams, for playing along with our April Fools joke that he would be announcing his decision to go pro on the Ellen Degeneres Show. All this was done through Twitter, so reading back on this column five years from now, let’s remember how popular Twitter was in 2011. And if we’re really in time capsule mode, let’s also remember that time Osama bin Laden died and nobody on campus rioted, our black president, Rebecca Black, the time BlackBerrys existed, how awful Cox Communications was and (back to death) Four Loko.
  • Thank you to the extended family of past and present Wildcatters — some of whom have become close friends — governed by our advisor Mark Woodhams, the crazy father who I respect so much now but know, years from now, the appreciation will continuously grow.
  • Finally, the biggest thanks to my parents in Massachusetts, who were crazy enough to let me come out here.

Oh, and thank you to the kid in the Honda Center parking lot for giving me an anecdotal lede to this goodbye column to realize the power of the Daily Wildcat.

The part I’ll remember most from that Duke game happened way after it ended. Momo Jones had finally come back to the locker room after getting his urine sampled by the NCAA (yeah, he played that well).

It was only me and him. Everybody else had boarded the team bus. The other reporters were gone and busy hacking away at their stories.

Momo smirked, unwrapped the tape from his ankles and let it all out before I even had to ask a question.

“”You struggle, you struggle, you struggle. And all the struggles, this is what it amounts to,”” Jones told me softly. “”Forty minutes away from the Final Four. Don’t get no better than that.””

Right there, the kid from Harlem, N.Y., came all this way to capture his college dreams and ambitions.

Right there, the kid from the Daily Wildcat captured his too.

 

— Bryan Roy is an interdisciplinary studies senior. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.