Sherman Miller, an Arizona Daily Wildcat adviser in the 1960s, said it best: ""What a gang. What people. What a job I've got.""
As I thumb through the proverbial yearbook of the last four years, I realize all the special people I've been fortunate enough to meet during my time with the Daily Wildcat.
With graduation just days away, I recall the eight academic semesters and two summers I've spent on the Daily Wildcat staff as a sports reporter, sports editor, news reporter (very briefly) and editor in chief. I've racked up more than 400 bylines and probably as many hate letters.
But I'd like to think those letters were written with ink composed of dark, free-flowing jealousy. After all, I've experienced a lot of cool things.
I covered the UA men's basketball team for two-and-a-half seasons, which encompassed Lute Olson's awkward retirement and three head coaches after that. I've covered the NCAA Softball World Series, Suns training camp and the NBA Draft in New York City. Last year, I covered the NCAA Sweet 16 and saw Magic Johnson and Larry Bird in person — all on the same day.
When I was 20, Shaq told me I looked like I was 15. Grant Hill said I looked 14. Alando Tucker believed me, if only for a moment, when I told him the promo spot he had just filmed for UATV was actually for a local porn channel.
My job has put me in the back seat of a silver Cadillac CTS-V (0 to 60 in five seconds) going at speeds upward of 90 mph on a curvy racetrack in Phoenix. It also put me behind Robert Cheseret, the Kenyan brother of U.S. Olympic gold medalist Bernard Lagat, running as fast as I could to keep up on the bumpy hills of Del Urich Golf Course during a cross country event.
I've played H-O-R-S-E with former UA hoopers Fendi Onobun and David Bagga and I've spent a day on the golf course with NBA stars Luke Walton, Andre Iguodala, Channing Frye and Richard Jefferson, the last of whom offered me a beer after the 18th hole. For the record, I turned it down because I wasn't yet 21. He appropriately called me a girl.
Pre-peephole incident, I had a 20-minute, one-on-one phone conversation with ESPN goddess Erin Andrews. While covering a UCLA men's basketball game, I discovered that Jaleel White, aka Steve Urkel, isn't dead.
At one point or another, I have talked with an ESPY winner, a Globetrotter, Brandon Jennings and his mother and Wilbur the Wildcat's creator, John Paquette.
I've been singled out during a press conference by a UA coach a la Mike Gundy, and I once had another coach return a phone call of mine in the middle of the night.
I've seen retired professional athletes and future pros — all grown men — cry. I've been in locker rooms and have seen things that would make a sorority girl cry.
And in the Daily Wildcat newsroom, I've laughed so hard I wanted to cry.
I want to thank all of the inspirational and hardworking individuals who have made this four-year journey so memorable.
I am the Daily Wildcat. You are the Daily Wildcat. We are the Daily Wildcat.
Sherman Miller would be proud.
— Lance Madden is a journalism senior. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.