There’s no crying in baseball

“We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other everywhere.”

…And so, just like that, a year has flown by.

Eleven months ago, I walked into CNN Center on a humid Monday morning and met the nine people I’d be working with for the rest of the year. And just as soon as I walking into CNN Center for orientation, I was handing in my badge and leaving Techwood.

Those nine people I met that Monday morning have become some of my best friends. The job was simple enough to explain — cover all 89 NCAA championships — and a little harder to execute, but I left the 8th floor with a heightened passion, incomparable experience, and a wealth of knowledge and confidence with running a billion-dollar website.

I got to meld so many of my passions — the Sochi Seven, the Olympic microsite, #OmahaOrBust — in addition to covering the college sports I grew to love. The nights were long, the pressure high, but I wouldn’t have traded it for the world. I got to watch the best college football contest in the history of the game (the 2013 Iron Bowl, obviously) with the rowdiest college football fans I’ve ever met. I got to watch the Olympics and the World Cup in a room full of sports fans. I got to watch every college basketball game during March Madness and call it work, while everyone else in the country had to sneak around with their finger on the “Boss Button.” I got to drive across the country, watching baseball, for weeks at a time.

I got to sit in an office where sports were always on the television, where we screamed and yelled at each other during exciting games, where plotting and playing pranks was a daily occurrence, where “9 to 5” was a foreign concept, where “inside voices” ceased to exist, and where being fans — and thinking like one — was a priority.

And so, we celebrated the end of an era with the only people who knew what we’d endured and accomplished in the past year — the entire NCAA.com staff. After packing up the last of our office, we all headed to Midtown Bowl for one more epic fête.

Goodbyes are never easy, but I have no doubt it’s not goodbye. Not even close. It’s a small world — especially when you watch sports for a living — and we’ll never be far.

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