Editor’s Corner: Thank you, Radford

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By Michael Marzzacco | mmarzzacco@radford.edu

On Saturday May 7, I will walk across the stage and receive a degree in journalism.  To be quite honest, I didn’t think this day would come.  It’s pretty weird sitting here typing up my last Tartan article but I wanted to take the time to reflect on my time here.

I first heard of this university from a high school teacher.  After some friends of mine got accepted there, I got a little more curious.  I started out in community college since I couldn’t decide where I wanted to go.  I’m glad I ended up here.

I fell in love with the campus when I toured it and I could see myself doing very well here.  I heard about the great journalism program they had and the fact that the campus was small meant I would have a tight knit group of friends and bros, many of them I will have for life even after I leave. What I didn’t know was the amount of adversity that I had to overcome to get there.

Sports have been my passion since I was 10 years old.  When I was 16, I got my first gig in journalism as a writer for a high school sports website.  Three years later, I knew Radford would be the place for me to take the next step.

When I started out, I was very shy and didn’t know if I still wanted to do journalism because of the competitiveness of the field.  I also struggled academically and it set me back.  Thankfully, Radford gave me a second chance and if it wasn’t for that I don’t think I would be graduating next Saturday.

I met a lot of incredible professors in my major and their encouragement has helped me dare to dream bigger.  The one professor I had that made the biggest impact on me was Roland Lazenby.  He is a writer and an author of many great sports books.  He came out with a book on Michael Jordan a few years ago and is currently working on a book about Kobe Bryant.

The thing I liked the most about him was that I had him my first two semesters at Radford.  He knew about my situation in the second semester and he still showed confidence in my writing potential.  One of the biggest projects he had us do was type up a big story on poverty in the town of Radford.  I am a sports writer so this subject was entirely new and intimidating yet I was determined to do my absolute best.  This story took me all over the city of Radford… on foot!  I visited unemployment centers, the department of human resources and other places, all without a car.  I ran into Lazenby the next year and he said my poverty story got the highest grade in the class.

Being in good standing again in my second year gave me the green light to further my journalism experience.  I started writing sports for The Tartan full time and had my own campus radio show on radiofreeradford.com.  I witnessed a ton of great Radford sports memories from my time covering the Highlanders.  From volleyball winning back-to-back Big South championships, our men’s basketball team beating Virginia Tech, men’s soccer going to the NCAA tournament this past fall, and baseball’s magical run to the NCAA Regionals last year.

This year, I interned with the athletic communications department during the fall semester.  In October, I got the Sports Editor position for The Tartan. All great for a resume.

I want to thank my assistant editor Will Beverina for helping me out and allowing me the opportunity to help you out.  I am very confident that you will make the sports section even better next year.  I also want to thank everyone who wrote sports this year.  I hope you guys continue to write or find your passion during the rest of your time in Radford just like I have found mine.  I want to thank those who have read our paper and all the positive reviews it’s gotten.  It encouraged me to work even harder this year, which is tough to do with senioritis.  My friends who have encouraged me throughout my four years have helped me work harder, I thank all of them for that.  I want to thank Roland Lazenby for believing in me back when I was a freshman/sophomore and all the other professors who have helped me grow as a writer.  Lastly, I would like to thank God for blessing me with a passion for sports and a talent for writing.

To all the Radford students that love the writing or broadcasting, I encourage you to get involved with student media.  It was the best decision I ever made in college and it will help build your resume and give you valuable experience.

With all that said, thank you Radford.  No matter where my sports journalism career takes me Radford, Va will always be home.  I learned a lot about myself these last four years and I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I never came here or finished.  My last words here is that I am ready to go out and chase my dreams one story at a time.