By: Luke Stillson, Director of Sports Information/Athletics Communications, 2006-2022
WESTMINSTER, Md. – Even for someone who spends a good portion of his job writing, it's still not an easy task to try to sum up 16 years – and to try to do it in a relatively concise manner. (Is nearly 6,000 words considered concise?)
Since 2006 if there has been an athletic contest at McDaniel, there's a better than decent chance that I watched it – likely from behind a laptop, recording the actions of the game and reporting those actions out in (mostly) real time to the parents and alumni who couldn't make it here through live stats – and eventually live video streaming.
It constantly amazes me when I take time to think back and how much things have changed over the years.
When I first took over as the Director of Sports Information, my entire staff could be counted on one – maybe two – hands. And, we could accomplish everything that needed to be done at a game. Fast-forward to now and I now have to employ a staff of two to three dozen to ensure we provide the services that have come to be expected.
We've replaced audio broadcasts on WTTR with full production HD video streams that include multiple cameras and replay.
We replaced an in-house, simple website with a web provider that fully integrates all that we do and presents it in a format conductive to whatever device loads it.
We've (mostly) replaced traditional media pitches to the Carroll County Times and other local hometown papers with social media and immediate information.
We've replaced Stat Crew with…wait, no that's not completely true. We've slowly moved into the next generation of stat keeping and away from a DOS-based system.
Enough, though, of how the sausage is made. Yes, the technology is a big part of the evolution of this thing we now call Athletics Communications. The how is important. But, it's nowhere near as important as the why and the who. Over my time here, I've had the opportunity to sit through many interviews – maybe, in some cases, many more than I would have liked to see – for new coaches, administrators, and even some other positions across campus. One question that comes up – almost without fail – is some form of "What's the best part about working at McDaniel?" My answer to that question every time has always been, "It's the people." The coaches I work with every day. The student-athletes I watch compete in success and in failure. The young people who come here as wide-eyed freshmen and leave as a much better person, ready for whatever life has for them after The Hill. The alumni – even those who were here as athletes long before my tenure – who never shy away from an opportunity to tell me a story of their days in green and gold or who want me to tell them what is going on with our current students.
As I prepare to step away and move 25 miles up Route 97 to take over as Director of Athletics Communications at Gettysburg, I've spent a good deal of time reflecting on the last 16 years that I've called McDaniel home. So, what better way to say good-bye than to share with you my perspective from the other side of the computer. And, of course, I have to break it down all under creative headers because that's what I do.
Riding Solo: Just some of the greatest individual performances I've been lucky enough to have a front-row seat for.
• The list could start and end with the 2012 NCAA regional for Caroline Brehm. Five games. 724 pitches. Nothing will ever match that. To quote the older gentlemen in front of me at CNU on the last day: "She's like a machine. I just hope she runs out of quarters."
• I've written about six no-hitters – five of those by Brehm, though it took until her senior year for me to actually see her throw one. She threw two in the same weekend – both in conference play – as a freshman. Her final one came in the conference tournament in 2015. The first one I had the enjoyment of watching (and scoring) was Zach Jones, who tossed a seven-inning no-no with 12 strikeouts to lead the way in a 10-0 win over Penn State York.
• I personally witnessed the women's basketball record for 3-pointers in a game (by the team) get reset four times. The most memorable for me, though, was when it went to 12 in the final regular-season game of 2010. The first time Gettysburg and McDaniel met that season, it was a three-point Green Terror win in Gettysburg. The second was senior day and two seniors put on a show. Sally Grace (5) and Ali Moreland (4) combined for nine 3-pointers, including four that helped build a double-digit lead just six minutes into the game.
• I have to mention Shane Daly's cycle in Myrtle Beach. I didn't witness it but 6-for-6 with two home runs definitely makes this list. (The 11 triples during the entirety of the 2022 season also qualifies as a great individual performance.)
• Sarah McDonald in the 2017 women's soccer postseason gets a special nod. Returning to goal in the conference semifinals on a torn ACL for her senior year. She came up with eight saves, including stonewalling a PK attempt late in the second overtime, in what was officially a tie. A week later, it was a 10-save effort against Lynchburg in the NCAA tournament.
• One of my favorite championships to attend annually is the track and field championship. I've witnessed my fair share of wild memories over the years. To name a few: Lindsay Wilson's 2009 indoor championship at Ursinus – mile record, 3K record, 4x8 record, and she anchored the DMR. Gavin's 800 win indoors at F&M in 2019. The NASCAR 1500 outdoors at Gettysburg in 2008. The monsoon outdoors at F&M in 2009. The worst starter of all-time outdoors at Muhlenberg in 2011. Plus, you can't forget the CiCis trip outdoors at Muhlenberg in 2019. However, nothing matches the indoor performance(s) from 2022. Ten total medals – three golds – and the men's highest team finish since 1994 (third). To be trackside witnessing one exciting moment after another definitely qualifies even though it may not be one specific individual effort.
Records Are Meant to be Broken: I've witnessed a good number of records go down over the years. These are best record-setting moments.
It should come as no shock there is crossover that exists between the greatest individual performances and the records I've watched go down but I tried to leave my memories of the actual record-setting performances for this section. Some of those, the person who next sits in this chair could sit in it for 30 years and not see matched. I can't imagine another men's swimmer walking into Harlow Pool and busting out a 9:23 1,000 or a 15:31 in the 1,650 to better Brad Brooks, who – by the way – only holds seven program records and three conference records. No one will ever strike out 1,359 opponents the way Caroline Brehm did over four years. Heck, while I'm there, no one will ever hit 128 batters either. I mean, only two other pitchers in the HISTORY OF DIVISION III have struck out more and I really wish I knew the Division III record for hit batters.
Aside from those, though, there are others. Full disclosure that I didn't see all of these in person but I definitely wrote about them after the fact:
• Ryan McGarry's 64 at Dickinson. I don't think any more needs to be said.
• Joe Rollins' 311-yard rushing day against Moravian. (Side note: That's one of the few times I made sure the coaching staff knew that Joe needed a couple more carries late in that game as he approached the 300-yard mark.)
• I was only part of the second half of Diana Rosemier's career. But, I still was here for 76 of her 101 stolen bases (in 113 career attempts, mind you).
• Nick Razze breaking the 28-year-old 400 hurdles record with a gold medal and conference meet record this past spring. I put this here, knowing full well that 52.94 will not be the 400 hurdle record when Nick graduates.
• Recency bias maybe continues a little with this one but Kealey Allison's nine goals against Washington to tie the single-game record. I include it mostly because of the seven first-half goals.
• Speaking of women's lacrosse and records that came against Washington. This no longer stands as the record but it still sticks out to me. Brittany Baer scored her then-record 179th career goal – in just career game No. 47, mind you – 10 minutes, 16 seconds into the Apr. 13, 2010 game. In the old press box at then-Bair Stadium, watching Brittany win the draw and streak from left to right for the record still sticks out to me. Just one of the many days I thoroughly enjoyed watching the two-sport standout do her thing on the field.
• I've seen a handful of dominating wrestlers over the years but Brock Glotfelty tops that list – as he does the all-time wins list. I remember the night he broke the record with his 113th win (in 133 career matches). I couldn't have told you the score if I didn't look it up (12-3, for the record) but I knew it was convincing – just like most of his wins. I knew it was against Hopkins on my 30th birthday. And, I remember that Jamie, TC, and I went out afterwards for said birthday. Brock's 126 wins – and 60 pins – still top the list.
It's the End of the World: Nothing beats a great ending. These are some of the game-ending moments that most had me violate the "No cheering in the press box" rule.
• There's one game here that sticks out far above every other great finish I've seen and that's probably because it won a championship and capped a rollercoaster of emotions. The 2015 softball championship at McDaniel. The first two games were a breeze. Caroline no-hit Muhlenberg for a six-inning run-rule win. Another run-rule win over Gettysburg on Saturday. Then came Sunday and another battle with the Bullets with a title on the line. McDaniel took a 1-0 lead in the fifth. That 1-0 lead held until the seventh. That's when the stress level kicked up. I remember being on the call with Seth Goodyear. A leadoff error was the first time I went completely silent and tossed my visor. A bases-loaded walk tied the game, which drew another visor throw. Bottom of the ninth. Lindsey Miller singled to lead off the inning. Hit by pitch. Pop up. Walk. Bases loaded. One out. Top of the order. Stacie Maring, first pitch swinging. Ball slicing to right. The speed of Miller back to the bag at third. Ball caught. Miller races home and it might be the only time I've ever seen a player round home on a sacrifice fly to meet Stacie at first to start the celebration. There was no visor throw but I may have thrown the headset in celebration before, of course, having to enter the play in Stat Crew (F9 SF RBI, (enter), (enter), + in case you were really curious).
• There were many memorable game-winning field goals over the years for me. Ironically, more than once it was a game against Gettysburg that came down to a late field goal.
- Oct. 7, 2006: Jay Leonard beats Gettysburg with a 46-yard field goal. The Green Terror took over at its own 36 with 2:59 to play. Brad Baer and the offense bled the clock to the point of needing to try to a 46-yard field goal after a timeout with eight seconds left. The wind was at his back, heading towards the scoreboard. The ball went down at the left hash and Leonard drilled the longest kick since 1981. The Bullets tried multiple laterals on the ensuing kickoff return but that was it.
- Nov. 7, 2009: Nick DeLuca hits from 22 yards out to my left at Gettysburg. Trailing 20-19, Tom Massucci and the Green Terror offense took over at the McDaniel 43 with 3:54 to play. The offense drove all the way to the Bullet 3, successfully draining the clock in the process. DeLuca with the game-winner for a 22-20 victory.
- Sept. 4, 2010: The season opened with a 3-0 win at Juniata. A Bill Castor 27-yard field goal in the second quarter was the only time either team really even threatened the end zone. That set the tone for quite a season. The next week was a 13-10 win in the battle of field goals. A late field goal to lose at F&M on Oct. 30 in the infamous punt-from-the-Diplomat-26 game. A week later, Homecoming went three overtimes with Gettysburg with Woody Butler catching the game-winning touchdown.
- Sept. 24, 2016: Spencer Wiersberg drills a career-long 43-yard field goal attempt with 4.8 seconds on the clock to defeat Ursinus 30-27 and snap a 22-game losing streak. Again, to the scoreboard end of Gill Stadium. The pure elation on the field after that kick sailed through the uprights was incredible to witness.
• Then there was Nov. 9, 2013 at Susquehanna. There have been plenty of memorable moments on the football field in Selinsgrove. This one probably takes the cake, though, because the game was truly on the line with one play. Nick O'Melia caught a short touchdown pass with 17 seconds left to make it 42-41. Mike Hoyt opted to go for two and the win right there. Seth McFall dropped back and saw Britton Hastings in the front-left corner of the end zone. His pass was almost immediately tipped up. Hastings adjusted – back into the field of play so he needed to spin to get back into the end zone for the successful two-point conversion and a 43-42 win. Everyone in the press box was in disbelief. Adam Pohl's radio call was epic (and I'm sure Jack's was on the other end of the press box but I'm not sure I've ever listened to his). The postgame celebration was crazy and it was a great bus ride home.
We Are the Champions: Every championship season has a story. Some of the greatest ones I've been able to witness.
• Men's golf 2008: The best part of this championship is undoubtably the characters involved. The story here actually starts three weeks before the championship and an 11th-place finish (out of 15 teams) at the Mid-Atlantic Region Invitational. Then it clicked. Third-place at Susquehanna. A 21-shot win at Glenmaura that included a 292 on Monday (you know it's a good day when you're throwing out a 76). Then came The Bridges and a seven-shot deficit after the first round. Cut it to four after Saturday. Then on Sunday, Paul shoots a 77. Gerry a 75. Meier a 74. LaVoie a 78. It's a 304 while Muhlenberg is blowing up with a 325 playing alongside and next thing you know it's a 17-shot win. Steve, without even knowing it, wins the individual title and everyone heads to Georgia happy.
• Women's basketball 2010: More on how we got to this championship weekend later. It started with a rematch of the aforementioned season finale against Gettysburg. The semifinal required a rally from a 12-point deficit early in the second half for a date with host Muhlenberg in the championship game. With an overtime win at Memorial Hall earlier in the year under their belts, the Green Terror opened up a 12-point halftime lead and never looked back. The lasting moment of the second half was Sally Grace's dagger three in the corner on Alexandra Chili and the shoulder shrug on the way back down the court. We won't mention Howie thinking the trophy could ride in the front window of the bus the entire way back. It made it to Union Mills.
• Softball 2012: The biggest thing about this championship that sticks in my head is how 2012 bucked the trend of the top seed not winning the softball tournament. In fact, the only time it has happened since 2012 when a full tournament has been completed was 2015 when the Green Terror did it again. The 2012 championship run, however, was a simple 2-0 first day then a run-rule championship game. It then leads directly to the regional run (more on that in a bit).
• Volleyball 2015: This tournament may have featured more dramatic moments that any other run I've witnessed. The Green Terror hosted Franklin & Marshall for the first-round match and won a tightly-contested match, 3-1. That was nothing, though, compared to the weekend. A five-set win over host Johns Hopkins in the Saturday semifinals (that I, by the way, watched from the Susquehanna football press box) to advance to Sunday's championship. It was another five-setter. Haverford forced the fifth set then took a 12-10 lead in the deciding set. McDaniel scored the final five points and pure elation followed once the ball hit the floor off the blocks of Lauren Wells and Lexi Corral to end it.
• Women's soccer 2021: You had to know this one was making the list. The change-of-format Friday afternoon semifinal at home was a ho-hum 3-0 win over Swarthmore. But, Franklin & Marshall also knocked off top-seeded Johns Hopkins so it would be the Diplomats at Homewood Sunday afternoon for the title. Defense had been the calling card of this team all season and the championship game was no different – except F&M's defense matching it step for step. No score through 110 minutes so penalty kicks would decide the champion. Right before kicks started, Justin from F&M and I looked at each other and decided we both needed to go to field level. Every time a kick went in and the goalkeepers traded positions, Justin and I traded positions from even with the kicker to even with the keeper. Every time we walked by each other, we made a comment about going all night. Up 5-4 with the Diplomats trying to force the second round, the ball sails over the crossbar. The lasting image in my head is the slight pause by Grayson Jons before she realizes what actually just happened and joined the celebration.
Nothing to be Upset About: Everyone loves a great upset. The best ones I witnessed.
• Who doesn't love a good win over F&M men's basketball? There was no place G-Rob hated more than The Gill Center. That was especially true on a Saturday afternoon in January 2015. The Diplomats were undefeated and ranked 10th in Division III. The Green Terror rallied from an eight-point second-half deficit, took a three-point lead with 11.8 seconds left, gave up two free throws at the other, and missed the front end with 4.0 seconds left. But, Wes Brooks stepped in front of the long pass at midcourt and picked the ball off and held on for dear life to preserve the 59-58 win.
• Baseball defeated Swarthmore in the first game of an Apr. 6, 2019 doubleheader. The Garnet came into the game ranked sixth in Division III and off a trip to the finals in 2018. The Green Terror scored four runs in the second inning and rode that to a 10-5 win. It was – and still is – the highest ranked team ever defeated by Green Terror baseball.
• I have to include a win over the No. 1 team in the country. Women's soccer toppling Messiah 1-0 on Sept. 15, 2021. Hannah Schepers got the game's lone goal with 13:12 to play in regulation, one-timing a Maddie Schwartz pass with her left foot into the upper-left corner. A win over a No. 1 is always a great time but the way this one happened was fantastic to watch. Doing it mostly with defense but then getting a beauteous goal as the winner added to it.
Running Down a Dream: There have been some magical runs over the last 16 years. These are the best of the best.
This is by far the easiest section for me. There's two that stick out above anything else that definitely produced many, many heart-stopping moments.
• On its way to the 2010 conference championship, the women's basketball team started the season 0-4 before reeling off 17 straight wins. (Sidebar shoutout to the conference-record 19-game winning streak in 2006-07. Sidenote No. 2: The 17-game winning streak came to an end with Snowmageddon and daily schedule changes that ultimately resulted in a Friday afternoon home loss to Johns Hopkins followed by a road loss at Ursinus the next day.) However, that 17-game winning streak featured six straight games in January that had me on edge, peering over the laptop and to the scoreboard at my right. It also led to lots of postgame headshaking with Coach Martin. Three overtime games and plenty of final-minute free throws from Ali Moreland and Ashley Lyles made for stressful evenings.
• I think the other one requires just three words – 2012 NCAA Regional. As the kids say, IYKYK. It started with what likely went down as the toughest draw of a regional. A trip to Christopher Newport that featured the No. 1 team in the country among other top teams. After starting with a rained out practice on the field, the opener against Emory was a 4-1 loss on Thursday morning. Little did we know at the time what the next three days had in store. With the season on the line, Tracy Davis went bombski with two outs in the bottom of the 10th for a 1-0 win over Messiah. Then it was 14 innings with Ferrum that threw off the entire tournament schedule and brought to fame #bcw. Sunday brought a match-up with Salisbury. Trailing 2-0 with one out in the bottom of the seventh, Davis drew a four-pitch walk. Steph Maring singled. Lauren Fusco won a two-out, eight-pitch battle, slapping a ball through the left side to load the bases. Then, Amy Baumgardner. Deep fly ball to right and into the tree beyond the fence for her second grand slam of the year and a walk-off winner that crumpled Margie to her knees. The season ended a few hours later to Christopher Newport but it's a weekend that everyone who was there will never forget. For the record, there's no official count on visor throws in the press box other than "many". The trip ended with a signed softball that still sits on my desk – and will be on my next desk as well.
Road Tripping: Some of the best moments haven't necessarily come during a contest. There are times when it's the road that gets you to the game that make for the best memories.
• There were all of the regular-season trips that had their own moments. But, the best of those were always the overnight trips. Whether it was a road trip to open the women's basketball season for a tip-off tournament or any of the many holiday trips with men's basketball, they all had their own special memories. The tip-off tournament at Kean that included a NYC trip. The Trinity men's trip that included a snowball fight on the way back from the UConn game (and dancing on the video board). The CNU trip with back-to-back trips to the same Italian restaurant. The Perkins across the street from our hotel on the DeSales trip (there always had to be a Perkins involved).
• At the end of the day, I'm not sure anything was better than an NCAA road trip. They all had their own special memories. However, one sticks out above all others – the 2008 men's golf trip to Georgia. Yes, the course was great. The hotel was great (except the long drive to the course every day). But, by far, what made that trip was the nightly trips to Dave and Busters and the horse racing game. And, of course, the final-night bowling battle with players and parents. Honorable mention nods to the St. Lawrence track trip where we stayed at a casino and could see Canada from our room the first couple nights (and had five of us in a mid-size SUV for a really long drive) and the Greensboro men's golf trip that was capped by the Moyer, Bowman, and I nearly dying from laughter after the deer-crossing-sign debacle on the drive home.
• Outside of the St. Lawrence trip, there are a couple of other track trips that make the list specifically. The trip to Eugene for Oregon Relays with Claire, Chloe, Jesse, and Renner was absolutely a highlight. To just walk Oregon's athletic facilities and enjoy other adventures around town on that trip was among the best weekends I could imagine. The other track trip wasn't one specific trip but it was the annual Sweetheart Multimix at Navy. For several years, there was no Thursday night on the calendar that I looked forward to more than that trip. The sprint medley relay at the end of the night was enough to keep anyone coming back.
• One of my favorite weeks every year is spring break. At least since I started traveling with softball in 2014. It's a long week. It's an exhausting week. It's a lot of softball. It's not a lot of sleep. It's a messed-up eating schedule. But, it's also a lot of fun. Lots of driving. A little ice cream (maybe a lot of ice cream, depending on the year). Recently, way too much time on airplanes and in airports. And, of course, nothing is better than an Old Town trip on Friday night. I could have done without walking into sliding glass doors several times but everyone has to contribute to the week somehow.
It Was the Best of Times…: These are the moments that don't fit nicely into any other category.
Anyone who knows me well enough knows the one thing that makes me happier than almost anything else. No, not Dr. Pepper. To me, there is nothing better than fall Saturdays and a home football game on The Hill. The week leading up to a home game may be more stressful that any other single task in this profession. The three hours during the game – as anyone who has spent time in a press box with me can attest – is pure chaos (though mostly organized chaos). But, as long as I have flavored tootsie rolls and a lanyard to chew on, I'm fine. However, it's been the three hours I spend in the press box before kickoff for the last eight football seasons since Gill Stadium fully opened that can only be described as my happy place. Driving through the early tailgaters then walking upstairs to a quiet press box and looking out over the scene (especially on a Homecoming morning). There is nothing better. Turn everything on. Start some music. Just sit there and watch the crowd as people slowly wander in behind me. The coaches. Institutional advancement staff. The AD. My video crew. Clock operators. Broadcasters and public address. Media, visiting SID (though less and less of that over the years) and the rest of my staff. The national anthem singer. It's one last trip to the field about 45 minutes before kickoff to see the coaching staff and officials. It all builds to "Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the presentation of colors…" Standing there as the color guard takes the field and the anthem is sung in the final moments of quiet. Turning to the visiting SID, shaking hands, saying "Good luck", knocking the door closed, and taking my seat for opening kickoff.
• Homecoming Weekend has always been an extra-special time. Despite it seeming like that was always the one Friday every football season that the programs wouldn't be delivered until really late, once I got to about 5:00 on Friday afternoon and knew everything was ready for Saturday, the Sport Hall of Fame Banquet – which eventually became AAAB – was one of the single best nights of the year. Spending time catching up with alumni who were back on campus. Listening to the speeches of the Green Terror Greats from years past. Honoring our current student-athletes for their on-field and off-field success. And, that doesn't count all of the Thursday nights once-upon-a-time that George, Robin, Kristin, and I spent in Gill with last-minute prep work.
• There were, of course, the many times sitting in a coach's office – or a coach sitting in my office – just talking and the many afternoons spent on the practice field. Whether it was in the gym for basketball practice, Thursday football practices, cross country/track and field workouts, or along the dugout rail at baseball and softball. They were all some of the greatest times that broke up an otherwise crazy day of staring at a computer screen.
• I will also admit that – much like Becky Martin – women's basketball alumni game day became one of my absolutely favorite days of the year. Especially when it came to counting "baby points".
• Speaking of basketball, the Terror Squad student section for many, many years made long game nights (and Saturday afternoons) all that more enjoyable. Watching them file in at tipoff – and file out at halftime only to file back in 15 minutes later. Waiting to hear what creative chants and cheers they had for that night. Trying to figure out if they REALLY were saying "push it" or not. Looking down from above every timeout to see if we got approval or disapproval for the music choice.
…It Was the Worst of Times: It's hasn't always been roses and sunshine. There have been difficult albeit memorable moments over the years as well.
• One word – Sno'coming. It may not fully qualify as a "worst of times" (especially for the crowd) but Oct. 29, 2011 definitely stands out as the most difficult football game I've ever worked. Snow covered the field before the game and continued throughout the afternoon. And, for those who don't know, 2011 was the final season of the open-air Scott. S. Bair Stadium press box. We spent all afternoon basically guessing on yard lines and freezing. At least Deanna and Kaylee had each other to keep themselves warm. I can't say the same about Josh, Blake, Mike, Terrence, and me.
• I try to remove emotion as much as possible when I'm doing my job but I'm still human. I get excited with big wins. I fume over bad losses. The worst, though, always is the end of a postseason run. No matter how many times I do it, I say every time that the most difficult thing I do is walk a senior who has just played his or her last game to the postgame press conference. There have certainly been times I haven't started that walk from the locker room until my watch hits 10 minutes and then we walk as slow as we possibly can. They've all featured tears – many, many tears – but I think the most I saw was 2015 at Juniata with Colette, Kloe, and Madeline. That one was probably my most difficult one.
• Dealing with the death of Bob Flynn midseason was probably the single hardest thing in my professional career. I was six months into this job and to get that call on a Friday night in January before having to play Ursinus the next day. I was incredibly fortunate to have great people around me. I had just listened the summer before to Bob Beretta from Army share the story of dealing with Maggie Dixon. I had a great PR Director in Joyce Muller who helped coordinate everything we wrote that morning – and the rest of the week. I remember calling Ernie that morning. I remember getting a call from Smally. I remember then deciding – after we got everything out and had brunch at Maggie's – that I'd go watch basketball at Gettysburg because I knew Eric could help keep my mind on other things. The next couple of weeks – and the rest of that season, really – was beyond difficult. Then, of course, losing Becky last year was equally as difficult.
• I can't do a "worst of" section without mentioning COVID, can I? I cannot put into words the emotions and experiences of Spring 2020 other than to say, I hope I never have to write another release that says we are cancelling a season. The meetings. The unknown. The constant changes. There is nothing that could have prepared any of us for having to deal with 2020. And, then to have to do it again to our fall and winter athletes made it twice as bad.
The People and the Thank Yous
I could go on-and-on-and-on with some of the craziest games I've seen. The weirdest plays (like maybe the 9-3-6 triple play). The most heart-breaking losses. The games that had miserable weather. The longest days on the field. The strangest moments. My favorite players to watch. The best interviews (by the way, that's Madeline Rose and it's not even close). The traditions continued and created in my time. The memorable quotes and inside jokes.
Nothing can ever match the musical traditions created – especially over the years at Green Terror Softball Park. From Centerfield between games to Thank God I'm a Country Boy in the fifth. I Fought the Law for pitching changes. Stacy's Mom going to the bottom of the first. Then you go to basketball. Thunderstruck for women's intros but not the men. Eye in the Sky for the men. Taking Care of Business after a win.
However, I would be remiss to not include one other special shout-out that is really a category of its own. One of the single moments that has provided years of laughter. Shout-out to the Salisbury mother who once upon a time walked into the press box while the game was going on to ask if she plug in her crockpot. My only regret from that story over the years is that I didn't tell her yes but not guarantee her any of the food in the crockpot would be left when she came back for it after the game.
I could write 12,000 words on the people – coaches, athletes, student-workers, cross-campus colleagues, alumni, even parents – that I've gotten to know and become close with over the years. The memories created during games, during preseasons, during lunch, during tailgates, during road trips. Working commencement every year since we started streaming and not only getting to see our some of my all-time favorites walk into the gym, across the stage, and out of the gym for the final time but also the enjoyment of spending the day with the same people every year behind the scenes, pulling off yet another great show. OCM meetings and calls from Cheryl. Even Inauguration this past spring and being a part of pulling all of that together and seeing the joy on everyone's faces that night.
I said it before and I'll say it again. I can recap all of the on-the-field stories in the world and there's history to be told there. But the games aren't what I'll remember most fondly about the last 16 years. It's the same thing every coach here tells every player to ever put on a Green Terror uniform. You'll remember the times with your teammates on road trips, in the dining hall, before and after practice, etc.
I count myself lucky to have had some great teammates over the last 16 years. Beyond the coaches and athletes that I spend the better part of my job telling their stories are those who have worked on the sidelines with me to keep this ship sailing straight. Many times, my staff has kept me sane through crazy Saturdays, crazy weeks, crazy months. They've made an eight-hour day in the press box (or at a table behind the backstop) bearable. Every last one of them has had a lasting impact on me and on Green Terror Athletics. Whether it's Storytime with Deanna. Singing and dancing with Kaylee. The infamous S*** Sam Says. Danielle getting rocked at wrestling. Katie doing her best to end games early. Kathleen, Adina, Abby, Devon, Alyssa, and Breanna always finding ways to keep things light and making even the worst games enjoyable. Lindsey taking matter into her own hands all the time. Tayler's devious smile. Amanda (and many, many others) who somehow found ways to spend an hour working in the office with absolutely no actual work getting done by anyone. Kristin being sworn to secrecy. Evan and Andrew putting in a full day of football and field hockey with me. The stalwarts who spent every football Saturday to my left, including the most recent four-year all-star Bri. The stretch where it seemed like half of the baseball and field hockey teams worked in this office to softball and women's soccer taking over that mantra. Second-team all-conference lineman but first-team all-conference camera guy Jared. There's no way I can name them all. Each one brought something special to the table.
While I won't be on The Hill every day, I'll still be cheering on the Green and Gold from afar and rooting for all of those here that I am privileged to call friends. Except when the Route 97 Rivalry renews, of course.