Dearest readers,

This is my last column for the News (tear) … ever.

For this momentous occasion, I had planned to write something dramatic, provocative, new and different. Maybe even something well thought-out.

But no, senioritis strikes again.

Instead, I kept putting this column off hoping to come up with something a little more inspired ­— some words of wisdom that would hopefully fall in place at the last moment.

But then I realized, summing up a column running over a year and a half is no easy task. As a Yale senior, so much pressure rides on making the most of all of our “lasts,” and this is definitely no exception. Senior athletes experience this too — the pressure to hit a home run on your last at-bat, get a hole in one on your last course or break a record in your last race. The feelings surrounding “lasts” leave us with a worry that we might somehow do it wrong and, thus, waste a chance at a memory forever.

But I don’t think life works like that.

More often than not, when I overanticipate something, it inevitably can’t live up to my expectations. For example, knowing I wanted to write something special, I should have started this column a week ago. The same goes for athletics — if you spend all your time straining to make statements or capture the perfect memory only at the end, you miss the point entirely.

That point, my friends and readers, is the importance of the journey.

After all, if we don’t enjoy the journey, the “lasts” really don’t have that much meaning anyway.

My time as a Yale varsity athlete, club athlete and sports columnist has hammered this point home for me. My last at-bat would have been meaningless without the practice before it. My last column would lack significance without experience editing and writing. Even winning the club volleyball national championship would have been less momentous if we hadn’t bonded as a team. All of the little things involved in working toward those “lasts” — those give everything else meaning.

I guess my point is that we should try to translate the intense focus we given “lasts” to our everyday lives. If you take pride in the little things, it will make the big things even better. And for Yale athletes, there is really no better place to do that than on the field, on the court, at the rink, on the water or wherever your sport takes you.

One good aspect of encountering a “last” is that it allows us to take a look at the past and change how we approach the future.

As for my future, I’m not sure if it will include sports writing, or any writing for that matter. I do know that it will include all of the wonderful people who have supported this column since January of 2009 (thanks, y’all, I love you!). I also know that it will be a future of appreciating every moment for what it is, athletic or otherwise, and knowing that it will make the “lasts” all the more enjoyable.

Tracy Timm is a senior in Pierson College.