May 1, 2006
By Brian Witter
Sports Editor - The Santa Clara
The old San Francisco Giants center fielder Chili Davis once said, "growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional." This quote struck home twice for me this week, with my tenure as sports editor of this newspaper coming to a close. As a senior with not much more than a month left of his college career, I've come to accept that I've outgrown a life that has been more or less structured for the last four years. Syllabi, meal plans and red Dixie cups are all but fading memories now.
There are a few things that I haven't outgrown yet, and hopefully never will. Of course, I'll miss the people I've met over the years at Santa Clara. Much of the person that I am today is a result of the relationships I've enjoyed as a student at this university. Also (and I am probably biased in this), I have had trouble coming to grips with the fact that I won't be a student supporter of Bronco sports anymore. However, there is a saving grace in all of this. And this is where Chili Davis comes in.
In high school, I had illusions of grandeur about sports and the college experience. I felt like much of my life would revolve around them. Instead, I wound up at a school whose claim to fame was women's soccer. Not what I expected. When I was a freshman, there couldn't have been more than a handful of students at the games I went to. It turned me off of going to any sporting event. People were definitely more interested in talking about where the party was at on Friday, instead of who the basketball team was playing.
However, Santa Clara's attitude towards its athletes and the sports they play has changed dramatically since I first enrolled. Call it athletic director Dan Coonan's active and visible role within the athletic department. Call it Mike Zozos and Ross Nelson's rejuvenation of the Ruff Riders, which was not much more than a glorified cheering section four years ago. Call it improved recruiting and trips to the Final Four. Call it whatever you want.
My only regret is seeing this transformation on the way out, instead of on the way in. I had healthy debates with various people this year about the defense that Dick Davey runs and the baseball team's depth that I never would have had before. I implore those of you returning to campus next year to keep rooting for the home team and making Santa Clara sports a part of your routine. These are exciting times for the school and for Bucky the Bronco, who is growing old and growing up.