Dear Bear Facts,
Where do I start? I have aged out of my role here in your print, and I want to talk.
My time with you has come to a premature departure as a result of the COVID-19 implications that have resulted in the final seventy days of the school year being held via “Virtual Learning.” This means that I won’t have a final go-away senior print to look back on as there have been in previous years.
So, I’ve decided to write to you in order to show what you’ve done for me.
Here we go.
I first met you at the beginning of my sophomore year of high school one Thursday afternoon in Mr. LoAlbo’s room 215. To be fair, I didn’t fully know what I was expecting. As a freshman, I saw that there had been publications, and I had read them, but the first meeting that I attended wasn’t until my second year in high school.
I was a shy kid who wanted to write about sports. As it turned out, I fit quite nicely into that role: there was a hole there that needed to be filled. Being on the Bear Facts staff brought me into a group made up mostly of seniors, while I was with the younger group which included Eliza Pattie and Izabella Mancini.
My first article was a recap of the 2017 NBA Draft, and with the many stats that I used throughout the post, it would be as long as the number pi. In my defense, they were stats, after all. One highlight though: I correctly predicted Ben Simmons winning the Rookie of the Year!
The second quarter issue stands out to me because it was the one issue in which I didn’t write about sports, opting instead, to write about the staff’s trip to the Byram Hills Journalism Conference. The piece was a step out of my comfort zone and overall, it wasn’t a bad piece and it got printed on the front page (a first for me). Side note: attending this conference was one of the best decisions that I have made so far in life. As we entered the BHHS, we walked past a flyer which advertised the Bruce Beck Sports Broadcasting Camp. Like my first meeting for the paper, I didn’t know what I signed up for when I got to that first day of Broadcasting Camp in mid-July; but if I hadn’t made the connection at the journalism conference, I wouldn’t be who I am today. But back to the main point: for the remainder of the year, I settled back into my mainstream sports coverage, writing about the New York Yankees. Another point for me: I predicted a Yankees/Red Sox ALDS that would happen in the fall.
I started my junior year by doing a bit more for the paper. I doubled up on articles for the opening issue that November. One was a piece I wanted to write and the other was one that stung me to write it. While I happily wrote about my experiences over the summer at Bruce Beck´s Broadcasting Camp, I took on the task of writing about the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series (as an avid NY Yankee fan, I must add!). Having to do this made me realize that if I became a sports writer/broadcaster down the road, I couldn’t expect to write about only the outcomes that I enjoyed. I will have to report the facts, regardless of my opinion. But it felt a little like salt in the wound when in February, I had to write about the New England Patriots’ win in the Super Yawn (I stole this from the article title. Hopefully, LoAlbo lets it run without a copyright). Instead of writing about the Yankees for the umpteenth time, in early May I wrote an article about Major League Baseball celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Pro Baseball for the 2019 season. It made me do some research, and like the Byram Hills conference piece, it brought me out of my comfort zone and I had to work a bit more. For my final piece that year, I wrote about the NBA Finals between the Big 4 Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors. I wanted to try a new approach with this article which included writing in an edgier tone. It didn’t exactly work out, and I went back to my normal style. I am still pleased to have tried out the more cynical style; it was a calculated risk. No highlights here: I had the Warriors in 6.
In my senior year, my position at Bear Facts shifted. I remained a contributor to the Sports Page, and a member of the editorial board, but I picked up a new responsibility: Sports Editor. It was fairly straightforward. I would look over the articles for the sports pages and make editorial suggestions. I advised on what should be covered, and it gave me another aspect of the paper that I got reps for. Like the previous year, I doubled up on both issues of the paper. I followed up by writing again about Bruce Beck’s camp and the 2019 World Series, followed by articles about high school basketball and the Houston Astros Sign Stealing scandal. The Sports Page was in its prime this year; both Zach Salvo and I worked to write articles that ranged from scandals to fantasy sports to tragic losses. A quick shout-out to Paul Catalano, as well, for writing about his final Varsity home football game against Yorktown and the piece in this issue about life without his final baseball season.
COVID-19 hit, and both of us know the rest of that story.
I know, you might be asking me why I decided to sum up everything that I have done with Bear Facts. Well, the remaining writing is dedicated to what you did for me.
You gave me a place to express my opinions, regardless of my New York biases and with more freedom than I’ll get anywhere else.
You led me to a camp where I’ve made many new friends, some that I’ll see and work with at college.
You helped me grow, both as a writer and as a person.
You were with me throughout my college search process, watching me yearn to get into my top choice and get in, only to realize that it wasn’t THE one.
You helped me gain a brief student internship at HamletHub where I was able to cover Varsity Football and Men’s Basketball Games.
You helped me achieve a future summer internship with the Danbury Westerners in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, even though their season got canceled.
You’ve been with me as I’ve continued on in Boy Scouts and am currently working on my Eagle Scout Project.
I could go on. You’ve been with me for a short but major part of my life. And you’ve made your mark. And as I slowly start to ease out of high school and into college at Ithaca, I will remember that this publication was where I got my start.
I hope you find someone to replace me. Who am I kidding? I know you will.
Best of luck Bear Facts,