Fulton's Corner Closes

    This is the end, my only friend. It’s time to be set free. Yes, this is the final column that I will be writing as the sports editor of The UCSD Guardian.

    This has been a very rewarding job. I have truly loved it. Hey, I get to watch sports, write about sports and spend my life around sports. Who can complain about that?

    The first game I covered was a women’s soccer match back in September 1999. It’s been great ever since.

    I have met scores of people along the way and my guess is that 95 percent of them are great human beings.

    The coaches have been great. Thanks to all of those coaches who took the time to chat with me. I know you like to see your players get the recognition they deserve, but many of you coaches went that extra mile. I really loved talking with you all, picking your brains, and learning about you, UCSD athletics and sports in general. It was fascinating. Thanks again. I could not have done it without you.

    Most of the players have also been great. There have been times when I’ve spoken with an athlete and he or she was less than cordial, but that is the name of the biz. After sweating and busting your asses, win or lose, you would chat with me. Some of you gave me your phone numbers so I could reach you. Thanks for the effort.

    Some things were rough with the administration, but thanks for the help you gave my department. Sometimes you really came through for us and made our job much easier.

    Regrettably, there are some coaches I still haven’t met. It’s just a weird anomaly. There are other people I never met, too, but would have liked to. Perhaps I will take some time before graduating to just go and meet them, to say “”Hi”” to the voices I’ve only heard on the telephone.

    Most of the time, I loved this job. It pains me to leave it. Nevertheless, it was not all fun and games.

    There are some things that really grated me throughout the year that I wish to address right now. I promise not to use any names, but I don’t promise to be nice.

    First, some mail. I love getting mail. I love the feedback. You can write me at the Guardian or at [email protected]. Wonderful. The nice letters are encouraging. The not-so-nice ones are amusing.

    For those who sent me hate mail, I make one request: Please re-read what you have written so you don’t look like the fools that you are.

    One guy wrote me earlier in the year with a number of complaints. Many were legitimate, but then he ruined it. He said that we at the Guardian should take more journalism classes. Newsflash, genius: There are no journalism classes at UCSD.

    To the guy who sent in a top 10 list of why Guardian sports sucks: That was creative. I really liked that one. I have it posted in my office. One of the best parts is where you call me and one of my associates dorks. That has to do with the sports content, sure. You don’t know us and you’re no David Letterman.

    Back in March, someone else sent me an e-mail criticizing my columns. Again, this person had some legitimate gripes. But he or she — it was unsigned — tried way too hard. I was ripped for a column I did not even write. It was a column — the one about the Super Bowl being less than entertaining — that one of my associates wrote. See the name and the pic at the top? Good job.

    These are all things that upset me over the year, but they’re not too harsh. They obviously bothered me, but for the most part I got over them. Some of them were amusing and provided me with cheap entertainment.

    Heck, if any of those three who wrote letters were to confront me, I wouldn’t mind having coffee with them and chewing the fat. No hard feelings and all.

    There was something that really chapped my hide this year: the swim team.

    Now, this is not an attack against the entire team. I met the coach and he is a good person. I met some of the team members and they too are good people. The team obviously kicks ass, especially Jennifer Watanabe, Sandra Lopez and the 400-meter medley team. Props to you all.

    But what some of you, or those associated with the team this year, did was pathetic. You took an advertisement out in the Guardian personals and ripped one of my writers and the department. This happened not just once, but a couple of times.

    That is weak.

    Maybe our coverage was unspectacular, but if you have a problem, there are ways to communicate with me.

    Call the office at (858) 534-6582 or e-mail us. Send a telegram. Send smoke signals. Send out the freaking Pony Express. Many people have gotten in touch with me. Some had planned-out thoughts; many requested favors that I have tried my best to fulfill.

    You didn’t even sign the attack. At least I sign my name to everything I write. Hell, I include a freaking photo at the risk of getting run over by someone who is really upset.

    Placing a personal attack on the paper in the Guardian personals is a sad action. Those who did it are pathetic and need to grow up.

    I also have some gripes with some non-coaches and non-players who have complained about our coverage.

    It isn’t perfect. I wish I could work 50 hours per week here. I wish we were a daily paper. I wish it paid $60,000 per year.

    Though it is never about the money with the Guardian, it would help the bills. I wish I had a staff of 20 and an unlimited budget so I could travel with the teams.

    I wish.

    Everyone here is a student. There is no journalism program at UCSD. Most of us had experience at other papers before coming here, in high school or elsewhere, but few of us have had a formal education in journalism. This is where we learn. This is where we make our mistakes.

    This is where we prepare for the real world. This is the minor leagues.

    This also is not our entire life. I wish it could have been a bigger part of my life. I love the Guardian and loved being sports editor. But many people here are taking 16 or 20 units every quarter. Education comes first, then the Guardian. Many of us also have additional employment so we can pay the rent.

    Because of these things, it is difficult to get every scoop, to get someone at every home game. But we try. God knows we try.

    To those non-coaches and non-players affiliated with the athletic department who constantly gripe about our coverage:

    How many classes are you taking right now? Oh yeah, zero. How many jobs do you have? Oh yeah, one. How many years of experience do you have? Oh yeah, decades. So get the hell off our cases when we don’t perform like supermen.

    I am sorry this last column is so negative — I just had to get that off of my chest. Overall it was a great time, and like I said, I liked 95 percent of the people I dealt with.

    So this is goodbye. I really loved the time here. I will miss all of the great players and coaches. Thanks again. I will take these experiences wherever I go.

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