The first semester of my junior year, I was the lone male in an all-woman 35-student women’s studies class (LIBERAL ARTS SCHOOL BABY!!). I won the award for class favorite, and the professor rewarded me with a small Moleskine notebook. My professor handed me the three-inch notebook and said: “write down your goal for once you leave college in the back.” About three months before that, I started running social media for the two hockey programs up at the the TD Bank Sports Center (RIP) during the 2015-16 season. It was almost three years after I helped create a Twitter page for my high school's athletic programs. It was an easy decision. I wrote “run social media and create content for a professional team,” in the small notebook. The same notebook I have used in every meeting for the past five years. It’s beat up. It usually resides in my back left pocket of my Lululemon ABC pants. It’s always there. I rarely ever use it. It’s more of a security blanket and what is to come rather than a notebook for notes. I branched my social plans to all 21 teams as a senior for the 2016-17 school year. I think I missed 10 home events all year. My work study allotment was supposed to last me until April or May. It lasted it until November.
When I returned as a graduate assistant in 2017, my dad didn’t get it. I remember it like it was yesterday. It wasn't our nicest phone call without each other. It was one of those rainy, disgusting and muggy days in April at Quinnipiac. I stepped out of my bio class (LIBERAL ARTS SCHOOL, BABY!!) and I called my dad and we BATTLED about my decision to return to Quinnipiac to obtain my master’s degree in interactive media and social media.
“Dad, I want to work for a professional team in under two years. This is the next step.” Right there. I betted on myself. The old-fashioned push-the-chips-to-the-center, wave-the-hands and go “I’m all in.”
I won the bet.
Friday, October 19th was my last day with Quinnipiac Athletics. Six years of absolute fun and mayhem came to an end.
On Sunday, I will board a flight to Las Vegas for the WNBA Sales and Marketing Summit. The event will kick off my professional career as the Content Marketing Specialist for the Connecticut Sun's (WNBA) and the New England Blackwolves (NLL), focusing on the two teams' social media pages. Words can not describe how thrilled I am to be joining the two teams and the Mohegan Family.
It’s been a state of insanity since I became a graduate assistant in July of 2017.
I started running the Bobcats Sports Media Group, and became in charge of multiple communications students at every home event. Covering everything from photos, video, highlights, fan pieces, social media, stats, public address. Everything. It was and still is insane. I found myself on my stomach in 20 degree weather on the grass of MAAC Semifinals during penalty kicks. I was sliding around in dress shoes on the ice for the perfect senior day shot. I still am deathly afraid of field hockey balls.
REGARDLESS, we doubled our impressions goal for 2017-18 by March and surpassed our original goal by January of 2018. Those Bobcat Sports Media Group meetings and the moments I shared with those students will always be the best.
The group will only continue to grow as Pittsy takes over. He’s been everything you want in a best friend. From a therapist, apprentice, little brother, friend and mentor. He's the best. He’s going to take the group to new heights in his tenure along with the help of the newly appointed athletic communications staff.
For social media as a whole when it comes to Quinnipiac Athletics, I always think about leaving a place better than you found it. When I started working here it was just posting the releases and a few graphics. Five years later, it has become the centerpiece for exposure of the department and only will continue to grow with the new squad looking over.
I always get asked what my favorite moments were from my time.
I have a few. Buckle in.
The 2016 men's ice hockey season was just so silly. It was the year I became friends with so many members of that team that I think my wedding will have to have two tables for those guys. The team never lost. It was such a different and surreal experience. Writing the Hilbrich piece in the Tampa Bay Lightning locker room while battling a terrible virus the day before the National Championship will always be one of my favorite pieces I have ever written along with my piece after I spent the day with Chase Priskie during the day he got drafted in 2016. That day gave me one my best friends. I couldn’t be luckier. Chase is just one of the few reasons I am happy with staying local in Connecticut.
Clouts and I had so much fun for those 7 months. It’s very rare you get to travel with your best friend every weekend to a random spot to cover your school on the grandest of stages. Rand was always good for a solid one liner, a smile and a 10/10 suit. Then we had 15 members of the group that stayed during Thanksgiving break in 2017 to dominate the coverage of our rugby program’s third-straight NIRA title. We had four student photographers, four videographers and four different students with access to the program’s social media handle. The team and the coaching staff, especially Becky Carlson, was so much fun and so appreciative of everything. Becky has become an amazing friend as I have had the privilege to work with her and her team this year. Trust me coach, our dogs will have a playdate soon!
There are so many small moments I shared with Becca Main and the field hockey team who I spent every game with in 2017. I have worked every home game besides three since 2015. Becca will always be one of my closest friends and one of my biggest idols. I will never be able to truly thank her enough for the countless hours spent in her office just talking about life.
Eric Da Costa will always be the first person I think of when I see a strawberry donut from Dunkin’. Win. Loss. Halftime. Middle of the game. He will always be sure to ask me how I am doing. He's the definition of someone just "getting it." In the grand scheme of things, It’s the little things in this business and Eric is the definition of that. Then there’s the 2017-18 season for women’s basketball. Tyrell and I were told on a Monday we were on a plane to go to Richmond that Wednesday. On the bus ride to JFK I had the worst panic attack of my life. Couldn’t breathe. I remember telling Tyrell I was quitting and was getting off the bus, Ubering home to New Jersey and never coming back.
Two days later, during the game against the Spiders, two players tore ACLs. It was the hardest game of my life. The rest of the days added up to the best 5 months of my life. I called Tricia Fabbri and told her my newfound friend Willy Pustari was the best kept secret when it came to videography. Four days later we are on a plane to Michigan. We covered everything. Meals, pedicures, shoot arounds, the Christmas suits. That trip to Michigan was something special. It still stands as the best 5-7 days of my life. Unrelated: I struck for a turkey in the final three frames in a round of bowling on a road trip in Buffalo. It was caught on camera. My athletic peak. the MAAC Tournament in 2018 was a blast. I sweat through three suits and eight dress shirts while men’s basketball shocked the world. SO much coffee. Me cracking up with Carly and Trish every time it was mentioned about Carly playing for her mom. I think my hands still sting from my high fives with Baker and the men's basketball team. The amazing Becky Mella wrapping my feet and ankles before the MAAC Championship so my plantar Fasciitis wouldn’t affect me getting the perfect shot ( Yeah, Becky Mella is the greatest human being on the planet.)
I will never be able to put into words how important that week was. I just remembered after one of the later games, it had to be 11 or 12 at night. Willy and I found a 24/7 pizza joint that served beers and pizza by the pie. It was glorious. We were the only people in there for three hours as the most random tunes played throughout the mirror-lined pizzeria. He just looked at me and said, “it’s gonna be alright. It’s only going to go up from here.” He was right. He’s always right. Bastard.
Everyday, I have been able to go over to the basketball offices and sit in any of their offices and just take a breath whenever I needed. Baker has become one of the most genuinely nice people I have ever met and definition of a true friend. Trish will always be another mother to me. The next cheesesteak is on me, for both of you. Quinnipiac hoops will always have a special part in my heart.
Lastly, my last memory goes back home. Both my mom and dad have combined two of the greatest supporters anyone can ask for. They were always willing to give me a ride to the train station the day after Christmas or get up early the day after Thanksgiving to see me off on to another one of my journeys. Also, my childhood friend Nick Demarco has always been there. Phone call, text message or Facetime. He's the pinnacle of what a friend should be.
Overall, it’s going to be very weird for me to wake up and not work for Quinnipiac Athletics everyday, but I am okay with it. I’ll always look back on my time and be extremely thankful. My notebook will be making the trip with me. I will never be able to thank Kniffin, Noonan and Z-man enough for their constant support of my abnormal ideas and their abilities to reel me in a bit.
Let this stand as a reminder for every student chasing a dream: Never let anyone tell you that you can't succeed at something...And when they tell you that you can’t: prove them wrong.
It's time to get to work.
Thank you for everything, Quinnipiac.
Ps- I finally have time to watch Deadpool 2 on the flight on Sunday. Let's go.