I’ve been a numbers guy my entire life. I loved math as a kid, participating in math competitions from fourth grade up through my senior year of high school. Baseball statistics have always held a special place in my heart, as nine-year-old Grant decided he was going to break Theo Epstein’s ’95 record as the youngest general manager in baseball history after reading Moneyball. I constantly think of the numbers in my life, especially the way-too-high number of words left to write in my thesis.
But there is one number that has hung over my head lately: 156. This is my 156th, and final, byline for the Oldest College Daily.
In many ways, my time at the News has defined my Yale experience. I’ve spent hundreds and hundreds of nights at 202 York St. For two years, I worked as a reporter, learning from people I once considered legends, but I now call friends. I served as an editor for a year, working with fantastically dedicated and talented peers to create a newspaper day in and day out. And now, in the twilight of my career, I’ve turned into a designated hitter, writing columns every other week.
When I first stepped onto campus in August 2012, a homesick freshman scared out of his mind by this Ivy League school, I had no clue what I wanted to do. I had always been intrigued by writing, and, most importantly, I knew I had a true passion for sports. So what better place to combine the two than the sports section of the News?
It’s hard to believe that, four years later, I can call myself an experienced sports reporter. I’ve traveled to California and Madison Square Garden, to Dartmouth and Penn and Harvard, to brand-new press boxes and the friendly-if-cold confines of the Yale Bowl press row. I’ve been on national radio and given interviews about the teams that I know so well. It almost seems like a dream.
Inside the Briton Hadden Memorial Building, there is a wall with pictures of the managing boards of the News over the last century-plus. Right as you enter, if you look at the picture at the very bottom to the right, you can find my face, smiling and proud and so incredibly grateful for this opportunity.
Years will pass, new reporters and editors will filter in and out of the building, but that wall will remain, a memento to the time, sweat, blood and tears I poured into this endeavor. I didn’t write for the News because I wanted to pad my resume — I’m not working in journalism next year, and who knows if I will down the road? I did it because this has been my home at Yale.
A week ago, my best friend from high school pitched his final collegiate game. After four years pitching for a pretty bad team, he finished up with a complete game victory, throwing north of 130 pitches in a one-run victory. Watching his teammates mob him and celebrate after the final out was made was a sight to behold, one recreated at every Yale senior night I’ve been to. The jubilation, the years of work coming down to one last moment, the emotion, the finality, all of it produces something beautiful.
Well, I don’t really have a senior night, and I’m guessing my readers aren’t going to mob me after reading this. But this is the closest thing I have, and all of those emotions are still present.
Thank you for reading and for allowing me to write. But I’ll be sticking around this city for a while longer, so if you’re going to be in New Haven next year, let’s go watch a game together — only this time, I won’t be getting in with a press pass.
GRANT BRONSDON is a senior in Ezra Stiles College and former Sports Editor for the News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.