Near the end of “Fast Five,” Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto gathers his team before embarking on one last job. He proposes a toast.
“Money will come and go, we know that,” Dom says. “The most important thing in life will always be the people in this room. Right here, right now. Salud mi familia.”
That’s how I felt walking into The Daily Texan office for our last production night — one last ride. The people, the family, will always stay with me.
But this week, our last week, my family had to deal with covering an unspeakable tragedy on campus. We dropped studying for finals and got to work. It reaffirmed what the last two years taught me: These people are special and our jobs matter.
I walked into the Texan newsroom as a transfer student a few semesters ago not knowing a soul. It embraced me like I was already part of the family.
Jori took a chance and hired an unknown transfer out of UNT to cover men’s basketball. Ezra and Shap stood by me when I took over sports last summer. Jacob was my partner in crime all of last year.
Tyler, you grew as a sports editor and writer before my eyes this year. Thank you for dealing with my demands, for the Tiffs and the trips to Growlers and Fat Sal’s.
And of course, there’s Nick, who became a brother and put up with my nonsense. I can’t wait for our best man speeches.
My family expanded to outside the sports department, though. Iliana and Megan are two of the most genuine people I’ve ever met. Amy and Jackie were like mothers, and taught me how this managing editor thing works. I hope I made you guys proud.
There were people I never imagined I’d become tight with. Ellie, you were a rock all semester. I can’t wait to see where this takes you, and I’m rooting for you all the way. Bella and Liza, you guys made Wednesday nights the best nights. Alexander, I still don’t forgive you for my 21st birthday, but thank you for always being there to talk. There are more names, and I wish I could list them all. It was a privilege to watch passionate reporters, photographers and editors get better everyday.
Department heads, it was an honor and a pleasure to work with all of you this semester. I hope you enjoyed every moment of this crazy ride and are proud of everything we accomplished. I know I am.
And then there’s Eva and Michelle. Thank you both for sticking by my side — I couldn’t have asked for two better associates. We started the semester knowing each other only by name and reputation. We end it as the best of friends, with both of you as my successors. The Texan is yours now, and I can’t wait to see where you take it next.
To the actual adults in my life: Peter, Gerald, Kevin, R.B., Mom and Dad: Thank you for answering my questions and keeping me sane. I learned a lot from each of these people. I learned to lead. I learned to make hard choices.
This week, I learned that this campus and this community is far from OK. It needs help — not tomorrow, not next week and not next year, but now. But I also learned that there are good people here. People who want to make our community and our campus a better place. People like those of The Daily Texan basement.
I learned that this job is more important now more than ever.
This place helped take me to the Rio Olympics, and later to the bright lights of New York and Sports Illustrated. But through all the stories, all the battles, all the sleepless nights, my team was
Salud mi familia.