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Now that my time is running out, it's time to say thank you


andrew-mcdonald-goodbye-column

Andrew McDonald writes a story following a Central Michigan men's basketball game at Eastern Michigan University on Feb. 26, 2019 in Ypsilanti, MI.

On a warm September day in Fall 2016, I found myself rushing to Moore Hall on the campus of Central Michigan University. 

I wore a button up shirt, dark blue jeans and dress shoes that were too tight for my feet. Even while feeling the blisters form on my heel, there was nothing that could make me miss this interview at Central Michigan Life.

After all, it was the only reason I wanted to attend this school.

I got off the elevator on the fourth floor and walked into the CM Life office, room 436. Wiping away the sweat from my brow with a facial expression that I’m sure displayed anxiety, I searched for Andrew Surma and Greg Wickliffe, the Sports Editor and Assistant Sports Editor.

When I found them, they both greeted me with a handshake and walked me into the conference room. After introducing themselves, Surma looked at me with a smile and asked: “You look like you just ran a mile.”

I replied by saying I was in a hurry and I that didn’t want to be late. I wanted to hit the ground running, I told them. Surma said I didn’t need to worry, I had all the time I needed to get going.

Now, three years later, here I am following him as Sports Editor. As I write you all this column with tears hitting my keyboard at about 1 a.m. on my kitchen table, I can only ask one question: Where the hell did all that time go?

In my first year with CM-Life, I made great strides on a desk full of people who had been there for years before me. My first-ever article was to write a story about the Bass Fishing Club. I took it and ran with it, so much so that I was moved up to the women’s soccer beat with a colleague and friend, Von Lozon.

That’s where my love of journalism beyond just sports started to grow.

I knew I had found what I was suppose to do — journalism.

I went on that year to cover women’s basketball and write a cover story on Sue Guevara, one of my favorite stories to this day. By the spring, I was doing the softball beat alone, something Wickliffe trusted me with after moving to Sports Editor in the Spring semester.

With everyday that went by that first year at CMU, I began to realize I made the right choice. CM-Life was the place for me and I knew it was just the beginning.

The following year, I was bumped up to football and covered it with fellow reporter Kullen Logsdon, Assistant Sports Editor Dylan Goetz and Sports Editor McKenzie Sanderson. Going to the Pro Football Hall of Fame for MAC Media Day was an experience I’d never forget. Watching CMU grow as a football team and win five of its final six games gave the program something to cheer about with an 8-5 season.

And of course, I’ll never forget the 21-point fourth quarter comeback in Kalamazoo over rival Western Michigan. Logsdon and myself couldn’t believe it, but it still stands as one of the better victories in the rivalry to this day on that stormy evening.

However, by the final home football game of that 2017 season, something really special happened. This time though, it had nothing to do with the sport itself.

Just the best friend I met doing it.

Evan Petzold, now the Assistant (to the) Sports Editor, got the chance to cover his first football game. We both stayed after and recorded our first-ever recap video of the game together. It just clicked.

Later, I would post a photo saying “I think I found my new partner in crime.” I couldn’t have been more right. The men’s basketball season to come was a beat shared between Petzold and myself. We traveled to Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo and other places just to try and give the best coverage we possibly could.

It would only bloom from there, as you hopefully all think now.

After two years under Goetz, our Fall 2019 Editor-In-Chief, I finally got the chance to take the Sports Editor position this Spring. Our coverage speaks for itself this year. The breaking news stories of John Bonamego being fired, Jim McElwain getting hired, a former conditioning coach being investigated for stealing Adderall, Jerry Reighard losing his job as the gymnastics coach and more .. We covered it all. I want to extend a huge thanks to the phenomenal reporting from Petzold. 

On top of that, the weekly coverage from features to gamers to sidebars have been at the highest level I’ve seen at CM-Life Sports during my time here. That is all credited to the great workers I’ve had on my desk this spring.

Through it all, I’ve never loved doing a job more in my life. It’s impossible to list all of the memorable moments I’ve had through covering these sports, but each one meant something to me. It was another day I got to do what I truly love doing and it all happened with the publication that became everything to me.

Now, I have to do the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my journalism career — say goodbye to the people I love. But before that, you all deserve a thanks. Without you, I wouldn’t be here. Not a chance.

First off, I want to thank Central Michigan Athletics. To any of the SID’s I bugged time and time again, thanks for putting up with us and making all of this possible. To the broadcasters like Don Chiodo, Adam Jaksa, Riley Edwards and many more, thanks for all the conversations I’ll miss deeply before and after games. This year alone, I want to thank Athletic Director Michael Alford for actually taking the time to get to know CM-Life and myself, it meant the world to me.

I want to thank the athletes here at CMU. For any sport I covered, I tried to build a professional relationship with the players. I hope you all enjoyed the stories I wrote about you and understood the more critical forms. We both had a job to do, but I can’t thank the athletes enough who took the time to get to know me. I will keep up with all of you forever and cherish the times I got to interview you and tell your stories. 

Next up, I want to thank all of my readers here in Mount Pleasant and all over the state. Whether you liked my articles or columns or not, I appreciate you giving the time to click on them. I am grateful for all of the feedback I’ve ever received. The people in this community make it special and you’d never know it unless you spent time here. Thank you for letting me provide your sports coverage at CMU over the last three years.

Lastly, I want to thank all of the people who I’ve worked with at CM-Life. It’s impossible to put into words what you all mean to me. From the podcasts, to late nights editing work and even just conversations about life, you all have become my family forever. 

But this one is different than other families. While I’ll never leave it as a CM-Lifer, I have to leave it as an employee after May 4 when I’m the first to graduate in my family from a four-year college.

With that hourglass running out of sand, I think back to that day I got a job with CM-Life. All of the laughs and great people I’ve met. The experiences I’ll take with me for a lifetime. 

On that day, I didn’t know any of that was possible. I just wanted to hit the ground running and hurry from story to story.

Now, I’m writing my farewell and I couldn’t wish for anything more than time to slow down. 

So when you all look at past articles about certain records being broke or news that is memorable and my byline appears, I hope you all remember me as someone who loved to work for you. Someone who did everything he could to give Central Michigan the best sports coverage it could possibly have.

I’ll miss everything about this place, but I leave it knowing I gave everything I ever had. Time does eventually run out and now, it’s time for me to move onto what’s next.

Thank you all for making me who I am today.

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