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Forever Royal | John Sorce’s Senior Goodbye

Ever since I realized I wasn’t going to play Major League Baseball, I knew I wanted to write about it. I still love the game as much as I did when I was five years old, when I began playing Little League with my dad as the coach. When I tell people baseball is my life, I mean that. That’s why they call me Johnny Baseball.

I grew up watching a lot of losing as a Kansas City Royals fan over the years. But then 2014 and 2015 happened, and I felt like I was living in a dream. I could go on about this forever, but I will spare you those details. Just know that 10-year-old me became a fan of a team that lost 106 games in 2005 because I liked the stadium and uniforms, and I wanted a team I could call my own. I finally made it out to Kauffman Stadium in 2007 and saw them get destroyed by the Cleveland Indians twice, but I loved it. I knew the Royals were my team, and Kansas City will hopefully someday be my home.

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I came here after honing my craft at Brookdale for three years. I enjoyed my time there, and it flew by. I know they miss me because no student covered their sports before I got there, or after I left. I like to go back and help out whenever I can. When my time there was nearing its end, I realized two years at Monmouth would go by even faster.

I knew for a while I was coming to Monmouth after Brookdale. I wanted to come here out of high school, but going there first was the right choice for me. Because of this, I followed Monmouth Athletics while I was at Brookdale in anticipation of covering them when I transferred here.

I remember watching the first Monmouth football game of the 2015 season on ESPN3 because I wanted to watch it as a fan. I ultimately decided to write a game story and submit it to The Outlook as a sample of my writing. I walked into the office my first day as a Monmouth student and, if my memory serves me correctly, I gave it to the only person that was in the room: Danielle (more on her in a little bit).

I did not know who covered sports at the time, but I knew my time here would fly. I intended to come to The Outlook and take over the sports section as quickly as I possibly could. Nobody was telling me otherwise. Little did I know then, that story would be published, and I have covered every football game since. I also covered an incredible men’s basketball team and (of course) baseball last year, and I was honored to be named Sports Editor and ultimately Co-Senior Editor this year.

Danielle: I have to start with the best boss an editor could ever hope to have. Thank you for teaching me how to use InDesign early on. This was very important for me to become the editor I am today. I owe you all the credit for that. Thank you for giving me this opportunity. This was the most rewarding year of my life in terms of becoming a better writer, taking on a leadership role and helping other writers improve. I loved every second of it. Thank you for allowing me to be Co-Senior Editor. That meant the world to me. Thank you for being an amazing leader and producing an incredible paper week after week. The Outlook has a strong reputation, and you exceeded those expectations. We had some difficult issues this year from the lock down to the presidential election and former President Brown’s sudden retirement, and I am beyond amazed with how you handled all of them. Thank you for everything you did for not just me, but for all of us every single week. I truly cannot say thank you enough. I have no doubt that you are going to do amazing things, and I cannot wait to see where life takes you.

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Jamilah: It was amazing to watch what you did with the news section every week. I was happy to help out a few times throughout the year. You are incredible with InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. You have made so many graphics for your stories throughout the year that I wouldn’t have the faintest idea how to create. You are an amazing editor, but that should not go under the radar either. You and Danielle spent a lot of long nights in the office finalizing and sending out the paper, and I cannot thank you both enough.

Bri & Kelly: Two amazing grad assistants. Thank you both for reading over my stories and providing feedback every week. Bri, thank you for helping with the back page and for showing me how to do it. I knew absolutely nothing about Photoshop before becoming an editor, but now I feel confident enough to be able to create a back page myself. I never thought I would be able to say that. Kelly, thank you for always being here for us even when you weren’t here.

Lauren & Amanda (because you are one): I always enjoyed looking up from press row at basketball games into the student section, knowing you would always be there. It was really cool to know you supported the team so much that you made the trip down to North Carolina, even though I didn’t see you there. Hopefully there will be a time down the road where we can all be together at a Monmouth basketball game. And I wouldn’t want to be Co-Senior Editor with anyone else, Lauren.

Professor Morano: We met five years ago in your Monday’s at Monmouth class. Little did I know at the time how much of an impact you would have on me in two short but incredibly rewarding years. Your journalistic experience is amazing and I am so grateful that you were my advisor. Thank you for all your help and for always being available to talk journalism. I will keep you updated with everything.

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Sandy: Thank you for always being there and for everything that you did for us. I know I speak for everybody who went to San Francisco when I say thank you for doing everything for them to make that possible. The timing just did not work out for me to go with them. But thank you for taking care of me when I went to the MAAC Tournament these last two years and North Carolina as well.

Courtney: I have no doubt we are leaving The Outlook in great hands. You are going to do a great job as Editor-in-Chief next year. I cannot wait to see what you do with the paper. I am sure I will be around at some point to see how things are going.

Ally: Thank you for copy editing just about everything every week. You spent a lot of time in the office, and I am glad that you are going to be managing editor next year. You and Courtney will do a great job running the show. And thanks for decorating my computer as well.

Everybody else: Even though I did not interact much with most of you, please know I will miss each and every one of you. I am just naturally a quiet person, I always have been, and I wish you all the best in the future.

Mom & Dad: I don’t know where to start. Thank you both so much for everything you have done to support me. Mom, thank you for always being there when I need someone to talk to. Dad, thank you for teaching me what it will take to be successful in life. Thank you for our annual baseball trips. I am truly amazed at the fact that we have been to 20 stadiums in Major League Baseball already. We will get to all 30 one day, and I cannot wait to be able to say we accomplished that. I love you both more than you know or words can describe.

Nana: My love for baseball came from watching the Yankees with you every night growing up (yes, I used to be a Yankee fan). I love the passion that you showed and continue to show for this game, and that got me hooked. I am amazed you still watch all game, every game, and I love that. My face lit up with you standing next to me when my eyes first saw the field at my first Yankee game. I was Johnny Baseball from that point on.

Athletics: I owe everything I have done these past two years to the people in Athletics. Without their cooperation, I would not have been able to write one story. Dr. McNeil, Greg, Gary, Jarred, Chuck, Mark, Eddy, Professor Harmon, Suzi, and Drew, thank you all so much. But I want to especially thank King Rice, Dean Ehehalt, Kevin Callahan, Joe Compagni, Dennis Shea, and Brian Fisher for allowing me to provide coverage of your teams. Each of you have been excellent with me as I continue to grow as a writer, and I am grateful and fortunate that I had coaches who were media friendly. Thank you to all the coaches that worked with my writers as well.

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And finally, to my writers: As much as I love writing about sports, it would have been very difficult for me to write four stories every week. Thank you all for stepping up and helping me out, you guys have no idea what that meant to me. Chris, you were incredible covering field hockey and women’s lacrosse. It was amazing you were willing to cover them every single week. Keep up the good work. Evan, you are unbelievable at covering soccer. I know how it feels to only want to cover one sport. Maybe you should try to cover some different things to broaden your skillset. But if you want to cover soccer one day, I believe you will. Matt, we had some amazing times in Albany and North Carolina, as well as on the air. Thank you for being so reliable with the women’s basketball team. Have fun as sports director next year, you are going to do an amazing job. Kevin, thanks for picking up women’s soccer for me in the fall and good luck with the rest of your lacrosse season. Caroline, thank you for covering tennis towards the end of the semester. You were very smart to get involved with The Outlook during your freshman year. Thank you for always being there to copy edit as well, and good luck with your tennis career. Zach, thanks for stepping up and taking over for me next year. If any of you ever need anything from me in the future, please feel free to reach out no matter where I may be. I feel like I owe you guys.

I also need to thank my fellow classmates and all of my professors that I had these last two years. I don’t have room to name everybody, but thank you all for playing a part in turning me into who I am today.

It is never easy to say goodbye, but I feel we have become a family. Hopefully, we will all keep in touch regardless of how far away we may drift over time. While I will always bleed Royal Blue, we Hawks will always fly together. No matter where I go from here, I will always be a Monmouth and an Outlook alum, and we will all always have that in common. This was an incredible ride, and I would not have wanted to have taken it with anyone else.