LOCICERO: Goodbyes are always the toughest

Michael LoCicero

Goodbyes are never easy, but this one is going to be harder than most. Working for the Tribune has been the most gratifying experience of my life.

In a mere 12 days, however, I won’t be a college student anymore. I’ll be in the cold, harsh world of adulthood and probably still searching for a job. And unfortunately I can’t be a Tribune employee if I’m not enrolled here.

I’ve made so many friends and had countless memories since I began working at the Tribune as a news copy editor back in October 2009.

I remember my first day sitting down next to Jen Michalski and wondering what the heck I was supposed to do with this WordPress thing. Thankfully, Jen and copy whiz Kaitie Kovach were there to help guide me.

I’ve had some of the best bosses anyone can ask for. From Nick Bullock and Tim Kraft all the way up to Andrei Greska and Mike Nelson, you guys have made me a better writer and person just from being on staff.

Nick gave me the opportunity to start writing for sports my second semester on the job, and soon after I was promoted to assistant sports editor under Andrei.

My favorite memory has probably been being able to cover the women’s soccer team the last three years. I wrote a column about this a few weeks ago, so I won’t go back and rehash it, but I’ve never felt a stronger connection with a team than I did with this one.

Coach Markus Roeders and his staff should be commended for playing the game right and always giving me plenty to write about.

I’ve always said it’s easier to write about teams that win, but this team could have gone 0-25 and I still would have found something interesting to write about.

I’ve also had the opportunity the last three years to experience something every student should get the chance to do: sit courtside for a Marquette basketball game.

The pregame meal is fit for kings, and getting a chance to hear the players and officials up close is a treat. I can’t even complain about getting scared by the band every single time it played a song.

Thankfully, I won’t be completely departing the basketball experience, unless I get a job that forces me out of the area. That’s because Mark Strotman and Andrei, along with a little bit of help from Nelson and myself, created Paint Touches last fall.

If you’re a Marquette student or fan who doesn’t know what Paint Touches is, you’d better check your pulse. As of noon Monday, it has 2,236 followers on Twitter and 282,308 hits on painttouches.com. I still have yet to read a bad article on the site.

The name spawned from coach Buzz Williams’ desire to get several “paint touches” each time down the floor and actually started as a pretty modest blog before taking off during Wisconsin week last year.

Speaking of Wisconsin week, Saturday evening will be the rubber match of my fifth Marquette-Wisconsin game. Any time you can beat Bo and the gang from Madison, it’s a good day.

Finally, I’d like to take the time to point out how bright the future of the sports desk is. I’ve heard from people that once I graduate, the “Golden Age” of the desk will finally be over. I might agree with some of that because we had a rock star staff the last two years.

But this semester has shown me that the desk won’t crumble after I leave. There are four (OK, five, I guess, Trebby) extremely capable writers on staff who deserve mention for being responsible for a smooth transition and final semester for myself: Trey Killian, Pat Leary, Chris Chavez and Kyle Doubrava.

As long as you guys keep working hard and ask the tough questions, you’ll be fine. As for me, it sure will be weird not working late nights anymore, but as my dad always says, it’s time to make the donuts.

  • Chris Chavez

    Good thing I read this online, because I bawled like a baby and would have soaked the newspaper with my tears. Bad news: I need a new laptop due to the keyboard’s water damage.