“Time flies when you are having fun,” Is that where the last three years have gone?
Coming out of Colonel Richardson High School, I watched my peers make bold plans for the future, committing to colleges across the country and going on to do great things at those schools.
All I really knew was that I wanted to talk about sports.
Anyone who knows me can attest to that. My friends and family can tell stories about having to literally walk away to get me to stop talking about the latest free agent signing, transfer moves or other breaking topic in the news that week.
I decided to join The Flyer during my first semester at Salisbury University. As a Communications major on the Multimedia Journalism track, I thought joining the student newspaper would help me find my voice as a writer.
What I found was so much more.
I arrived at my first weekly Flyer meeting with a folder, three brand-new ink pens and more loose-leaf paper than one could ever need for a meeting lasting less than an hour. Saying I was nervous would be a gross understatement.
It seems silly, looking back on it now. I quickly realized I had no real reason to be nervous.
The atmosphere was warm and inviting, even to unexperienced writers. We all went around the room and introduced ourselves, with the editorial staff going first and the writers following suit.
We then broke off into sections to discuss story ideas for the week. I had a choice: News, Sports, Editorial or Gull Life.
I found myself moving to join the Sports section with no hesitation. From that first meeting, I knew I wanted to cover Salisbury sports as much as I could.
That choice, as trivial as it seems, led me to connect with two people who have played a big role in helping me find my voice.
The first was Daily Times reporter and the advisor for The Flyer, Ricky Pollitt.
When I heard he worked in the field I hoped to pursue, I started jotting down questions. If memory serves, I asked him at least five questions at the conclusion of that meeting.
I wanted to pick his brain about his daily responsibilities, what working in the field was like and the ins and outs of covering sports as a reporter.
In all honesty, I am not sure much has changed since then. I would love to have a tally of the number of questions I have asked Pollitt over the last three years.
Even so, Pollitt never hesitated to answer any question I had with enthusiasm.
As a mentor who showed a genuine passion for developing student writers into journalists, I could not have asked for a better advisor.
The second was then-Sports editor and current play-by-play voice of USL League One and Greenville Triumph SC, Chris Mackowiak.
Even though he did not go out of his way to mention it at the time, I could tell from the descriptions of his story ideas that he had a passion for covering the maroon and gold.
A few weeks later, I joined the Sea Gull Sports Network as a broadcaster. I decided that even with no experience in live sport coverage, it was too good an opportunity to pass up on.
Over the course of the fall semester, Mackowiak and I sat down often to discuss what was happening in the world of SU athletics, talk about some potential story ideas and even discuss recent broadcasts we had worked with Sea Gull Sports Network. It did not take long for me to realize just how much work he put into every story, every interview and every broadcast, and I hoped I could live up to that sort of standard.
This is where my love for Salisbury athletics began. Every story, interview and prep session has only made me more appreciative of my role in covering the teams.
In his editor’s note in December of 2018, Mackowiak quoted one of his favorite shows, “The Office.” The quote from Andy Bernard, played by Ed Helms, is from the final episode of the show and perhaps the most famous quote from the finale.
"I wish there was a way to know you're in the 'good old days' before you've actually left them."
Like Mackowiak, I too am one of those people that has watched the full series at least a half-dozen times, so the significance of that quote is not lost on me.
Personally, my favorite quote from the entire show comes just a few minutes later in the finale.
“No matter how you get there or where you end up, human beings have this miraculous gift to make that place home,” Creed Bratton said.
I am honored to have taken the reigns as the Sports editor for the last two years. To Mackowiak and Pollitt, thank you for your guidance in helping me grow and find my way as a writer.
To every writer and editor I have shared my Sunday evenings with over the last three trips around the Sun, thank you for welcoming me to the family and allowing me to improve alongside you. Thank you for allowing me to call this newspaper my home for the last three years.
And to Sea Gull Nation, thank you for sharing the last three years with me. I only hope I was able to tell your stories well.
By NICK LEWIS
Photo courtesy of Sports Information.