About a year ago, the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team had just beaten Kentucky in what was probably the most important victory in the history of UW athletics.

About a year ago, I was in attendance at the game in Indianapolis. As the final buzzer sounded, I couldn’t cheer. I could hardly smile. Hell, I was even wearing a tie that was close to Kentucky blue.

But in that moment, I couldn’t have been happier to be in that position. At just 21-years-old, I was covering a Final Four game, something that many journalists today could only dream of doing. And I wouldn’t have been in that position had it not been for The Badger Herald and all those great people that guided me from my start as a sophomore.

From Caroline Sage to Sean Zak to grandpa Dan Corcoran, uncle Eric Kohlbeck, brother Chris Bumbaca, stepson Eric Goldsobel and everyone in between, I cannot thank the wonderful people of the sports departments’ past and present enough for shaping me into the writer I am today.

At times sports coverage can get swept under the rug. It may not be seen in the eye’s of some as having the pull as some other hard-hitting news, but those who I worked under always helped me recognize that all the work I was doing was important and everything I did had a purpose.

That all peaked this past semester when I had the opporunity to work on two cover stories and really take a deep dive into some of the most important issues in the sports world. I got to tell the stories of student athletes of all kinds and was able to share their experiences that go far beyond the playing field.

I shared how one deals with racism in a predominantly white sport, how one balanced a family and a sport, how one dealt with depression and so many more.

These are stories I’d never thought I’d be telling when I first stepped foot on this campus, and I never would have been able to tell these stories without the great opportunity presented to me at the Herald.

With the peaks, however, came pits. There were times where I could’ve walked out of the office and left the stress of being Sports Editor behind because sometimes it was just too overwhelming, but looking back as this chapter in my life comes to an end, I wouldn’t be the person I am — nor would the section be what it was — without those instances of adversity.

I wouldn’t do anything over. I wouldn’t take any of it back. Because, in the end, the Herald has prepared me for whatever my next chapter entails.

Brazzoni out.