Well, this is interesting. Here I am, sitting down to write my final post on the Fifth Quarter, and I don't really have anything. I had it all planned out - I swear - but now that I'm actually sitting down to write it the words just aren't flowing like I thought they would. But then again, I've never claimed to be the most elegant of writers.
As most of you know, I'm leaving Bucky's 5th Quarter after nearly two years of contributing. It all started during the summer after my freshman year at Wisconsin. I'd been reading Adam's work for a while after finding the site through one of SB Nation's other fantastic blogs, and I ran across a want ad of sorts. The site was growing quickly, and extra help was needed to write a daily links post.
I almost dismissed the want ad. At the time I was just a soon-to-be sophomore, listing my way through academia, and pretending as though I had a clue as to what I was doing. I wrote for the paper and all that in high school growing up in Lakeville, Minn., but I thought that was just a hobby. It never crossed my mind that I could turn an internet writing gig into something people would want to read, let alone something that would give me endless opportunities down the road.
I wish I could say that a beam of light hit me; with some movie narrator's voice telling me that applying to write Badger Bits was the right thing to do, but that would be a lie. I recall my thought process being more like "Ehh, why the hell not?"
Why the hell not indeed. Since then I've written somewhere close to 400 posts and articles for B5Q, working as a semi-regular blogger and then eventually as the site's beat reporter. But the opportunities didn't stop there.
Luckily, Wisconsin's School of Journalism decided to admit me last winter, something I strive every day to make sure they won't ever regret. I've covered many football and basketball games, including a pretty important one out in Pasadena, Calif., this January. I've poured countless hours trying to help this site grow into one of the best places for Badger fans to come to, and I like to think that all of us at B5Q have accomplished that goal. And now I've been given the chance to turn what used to be a simple linking job into something resembling a career.
So for me at least, there's a bittersweet feeling in the air today. Writing here was more than just firing up the computer in sweatpants to throw together an assortment of links about the Badgers, although I can't say that didn't happen once or twice.
And none of it would have been worth it without you, the readers and members of this community. I don't think any of us here do what we do just as a means to an end. We do it because we want to give you another great way to be involved with your favorite teams. Without your passion and dedication, I'm quite sure I'd be laboring away in some other major, and not having the time of my life like I am now.
It's been a long, exciting ride. Since I started here, the Badgers have won two Big Ten titles, and hearts have been elated one week and broken the next. And I've learned more than I can describe during my time with B5Q.
Adam Hoge has been the best mentor I could have asked for, and I've learned a lot about what it takes to be a good writer and a good reporter in the last two years. I am forever grateful for the countless opportunities he has provided me, especially since I was just some random college kid applying to write about the Badgers just two years ago.
I am also grateful to have worked with the best team of Wisconsin writers and bloggers anyone could have hoped for. Phil, Chuck, Jake, Adam, Sam and Louis all do wonderful work here, and their dedication and insight continues to amaze me.
My family and friends have been incredibly supportive as well. They have all been very patient with me, as I am sure my lack of a sports "off" switch can be trying at times. The bad news for them is that I'll be getting paid to write about sports, so it's my job now. Sorry in advance.
And again, I want to thank you, the readers. I appreciate you all bearing with me as I (hopefully) grew into a better writer and reporter. Thank you for putting up with my inevitable typos and errors, and I hope that I've at least played a small part in giving you a reason to keep coming back to B5Q.
I won't be going away completely though- I'll still be covering the Badgers for BadgerBlitz.com, I'll be just as much of a Twitter addict, and I might swing by in the comments section every once in a while.
If I may, I'd like to leave you all with some advice. None of this would have happened to me if I hadn't listened to that small voice in my head saying "Why the hell not?" Life is too short to play it safe, thinking: "Yeah that would be cool and all, but there's no way it would work out."
Take a chance on something, because you never know what can happen in just two years. If an idea pops into your head, and you initially dismiss it because it might not work out, I have four words for you:
Why the hell not?
-- John Veldhuis