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The Hot Corner: The anti-goodbye column

Justin St. Germain
Sports Editor
By Justin St. Germain
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
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Let's get one thing straight: This is not a goodbye column.

It seems everybody's writing them this time of year, every Wildcatter who thinks his or her departure is going to bring the whole paper-reading UA community to its knees in grief, a gaping void where its collective heart used to be.

But don't worry, loyal readers: I check the sports desk e-mail. I know how you feel about me. If that wasn't bad enough, a certain adviser around here has been calling me inept in one way or another for four years. So I know this section isn't about the name printed at the top of the page.

It's here because you want to know about the big shots in UA athletics - Lute Olson, Bob Stoops, Hassan Adams, Kim Glass, Alicia Hollowell, et al. Simply put, my job is about other people.

But sometimes, the people who make the biggest impacts aren't the big shots. After working on the last 525 issues of the Arizona Daily Wildcat, there are a few other people I'd like to tell you about, and most of them aren't famous.

People like former UA hoops icon Eugene Edgerson, who answered his phone in the locker room after a basketball game to tell me he would call me back, then not only did, but spent an hour talking to me from a Reno, Nev., hotel room. In the middle of a Globetrotters road trip that shuttled him to a new city every day, he spent his precious rest time to talk to a college newspaper reporter he had never met, and his words made it clear that the true depth of his character only began to show in the way he played.

People like head baseball coach Andy Lopez, who mentions his children, wife and players when asked about his success, and not his national championship or 700 career wins.

People like Captain Earthman, the Rockies Spring Training beer vendor who dispenses Silver Bullets, peanuts, weather reports and existential wisdom with equal aplomb.

People like Ryan Finley, Connor Doyle, Dave Stevenson and Lindsey Manroel, past Wildcatters and great friends all. We all move on, but thankfully we don't all move apart.

People like Shane Dale, Chris Wuensch and Ross Hammonds, fellow sports monkeys who will walk off into the sunshine with me at graduation.

People like Brett Fera, Charles Renning, Amanda Branam and James Kelley, sports desk stalwarts who will keep it going, for better or worse. I'm betting on better.

People like Tom Knauer, Lindsey Frazier and Roman Veytsman, whose hard work in their short time here has them looking forward to bright futures.

And most importantly, people like you, the readers, the people who read our stories and, every once in a while, seem to like doing it. Even people like the Wildcat letter-writer who said my ill-advised comparison between Andre Iguodala and a Palestinian child was "a greater tragedy than the Palestinian-Israeli conflict itself," and another who called me a "whiner" for questioning the flawed Zona Zoo pass. At least it was feedback.

All the people listed here share a common trait: They are, in the colloquial and best sense of the phrase, "good people."

One thing Edgerson said to me late that January night has stuck with me.

"I always like to surround myself with good people. People like down-to-earth and humble people. If you're a good person, people will notice that and everything will be all good," he said.

Amen, Gene.

Justin St. Germain is senior majoring in creative writing and English. After he graduates Saturday, he plans to write a lot of angry letters to the Wildcat next year.

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