I never realized this, but life, at least for me, has been like a game of football. For those of you who know me, you definitely don’t find it surprising — but hear me out.
Much like football, life can hand you a series of hard hits and close calls. It can also give you some of the craziest moments that leave you speechless. You can make several strides forward, but one bad thing can send you back further than where you began. At the same time, one stroke of genius can put you within inches of your goal.
That is what college has been for me. Four beautiful “quarters” of my life masterfully pieced together. I have been tackled by some of the hardest classes, but I have managed to get back up. I’ve had my fair share of flags thrown my way that have reminded me that I am, in fact, not the greatest of all time. I have had a lot of first down celebrations and touchdown dances.
There is one thing left in the Angel vs A&M season that I have left to do, and that is win my super bowl. Come Thursday at 2 p.m., I will begin what I have officially decided to call my two-minute drill. The last few moments I will have as an undergraduate. In the last two minutes of a football game, every second is crucial, and I hope to make the last few seconds I have as a current student count.
Before I walk the stage and hoist my own version of the Super Bowl trophy, I will soak in the sounds and sights of Aggieland, whether it be by taking a stroll across campus or sitting with my family and friends before we head to Reed Arena.
But before I commit a false start and get ahead of myself, I have to call a timeout to thank some of the most important people that have gotten me through these last four years.
Most importantly, my coaches — aka my parents.
Mom, you have been my offensive coordinator for the last 21 years of my life. You have given me the tools to outsmart (pun intended) the defense while also reassuring me about my ability to drive down the field and make big plays. Thank you for the long calls filled with advice that got me through the hardest parts of college.
Dad, you have been my defensive coordinator — the Buddy Ryan to Mom’s Mike Ditka (but you guys don’t hate each other). If I had a dollar for every time you told me to stop crying and keep my head up, I would have more than enough money to pay off my student loans. You have taught me to have tough skin and to always keep pushing for great things no matter how hard I might find it.
I love you both so much I cannot believe I get to call you two my parents.
My position coach, Douglas Pils has been one of the toughest yet supportive members in my circle. Without his guidance, I firmly believe that I wouldn’t be where I am today. I struggle to think that when I need advice, I won’t be able to walk into his office and just talk it out. I cannot thank him enough for being my “Batt Dad” and helping me grow not only as a journalist but as a person.
One of the biggest things about sports is the unity between people who played alongside each other.
My teammates, aka my friends, have been some of the most important people in my life. And although I’ve had friends who have come and gone from my life, their impact remains until this day. When I look back at my time in Aggieland, I will think about the adventures and uncontrollable laughter I shared with so many amazing people who I feel so lucky to have crossed paths with.
To my amazing roommates, thank you for being my extended family this past year. You three gave me the sense of home I lacked my first three years in college.
And to my longest and dearest friend in college, thank you for being there through it all — the good and the bad and everything in between. You mean so much to me.
Looking back at the last four years, I can honestly say that I was spoiled by the experience I had as the sports editor and as a student. I walked through campus getting to live two lives: the reporter who had access to almost every athletic event and the student who yelled from the stands when I was off duty.
I witnessed and covered some of the biggest events in person from Jimbo Fisher being hired to the UCLA meltdown at the Rose Bowl. I sat in the stands at Reed when A&M won a share of the SEC title and in Section 203 for some of the most intense baseball games ever.
For four years of my life, I have spent the majority of my time in the basement of the MSC in my beloved L400. I have had 271 bylines for this paper. I have cried, laughed and stressed within these walls. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Yes, the hours were long and the pay was not great, but the stories I worked on and the editors I worked with made it all so worth it. There is nothing like spending countless hours working on something so important with people who are as passionate as you.
There is one more thing I want to leave here, and it’s a bit of advice: First, find something that you are passionate about and give it your all — whether it’s helping others or being the best version of yourself. Next, find people who will help you, challenge you and are just as passionate as you. It’s SO important to have people who will be there for you. Finally, soak it all in. This era in your life is so important, and if you don’t take the time to stop and take it in, it will fly by and you won’t even notice it.
While my time as a student might be over, I am excited to take on this new season of life. With each step of the way, I will make sure to spread the spirit that can ne’er be told.
Gracias y Gig ‘em!
Angel Franco is a telecommunication media studies senior and sports editor for The Battalion.