SEEMAN: Reflecting on four years as a Golden Eagle

How did we get here?

No, really. It seems like just yesterday I sat nervously in a small classroom in Lalumiere Hall waiting for my first collegiate class — intermediate French — to begin.

I would throw in some French here and show how much I learned, but it’s tough considering the last time I conjugated a verb en Francais was, in fact, freshman year.

It doesn’t feel like that much time has gone by, but there’s evidence all around me.

Zilber Hall used to be the drab 707 Building. Eckstein Hall used to be a grassy hillside. The Discovery Learning Center used to be a parking lot.

I remember paying for food before it arrived at the table at George Webb before it morphed into Qdoba. I remember closing Jim Hegarty’s pub for good and the impromptu candlelight vigil held outside Angelo’s.

But this shouldn’t be about how old I’m getting. At least not all of it. This is the sports section, after all.

So here’s my sporting reflection: There hasn’t been a better four-year window in which to follow Wisconsin sports than the four years I spent at Marquette.

Don’t believe me?

Each of the three major sports teams in the state — the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers and Milwaukee Bucks — made the playoffs in the last four years. The only other time that happened was in the early 1980s when all three teams qualified in 1982, a year that comes with an asterisk as the Packers played a shortened NFL season because of a player strike.

Each of the teams also has young, supremely talented players under contract for multiple years. The Packers have quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Brewers have outfielder Ryan Braun. The Bucks have center Andrew Bogut.

For hockey fans, the Milwaukee Admirals have had a good run in the American Hockey League, with them making it to the postseason in each of the last four years.

Wisconsin’s collegiate “money sports” — football and men’s basketball — enjoyed great success, too. Marquette and Wisconsin-Madison both are perennial basketball tournament participants. In addition, the Badgers’ football team played in the illustrious Rose Bowl in January.

With so much that’s happened in the sports world alone in what seems like such a short amount of time, it’s important to remember the following: Life zooms by faster than cars trying to beat the lights at 11th and Wisconsin, and it’s up to each individual to catch the details.

There are plenty of things I’ve missed in my four years, but I’m pretty sure I caught the most important ones: be on time, do stuff right the first time and always have caffeine nearby.

I arrived at Marquette in 2007 as a kid who liked to watch ESPN’s “SportsCenter” and dreamed to someday work for the “worldwide leader.”

I leave here in 2011 disillusioned with that dream — because of the irritating ubiquitousness of the network — but also encouraged by the ability I picked up in the interim to report and write my way onto a front page somewhere. Dreams can change and that’s kind of what college is about: finding the right dream.

The Tribune allowed me to put my skills on display, and for that opportunity, I’m genuinely grateful. I’m also grateful for everybody who took the time to read my articles — both as a sports columnist and as a news reporter — and for the editors who made them all fit for publication.

My time at this university is nearly up, and it’s a time I would gladly repeat. Unfortunately, with ever-inflating tuition costs and the fact that I passed my classes (knock on wood), I can’t.

The French I learned in my first year may not be in the forefront of my brain any more, but I remember enough to say this: Au revoir, Marquette. Merci beaucoup.