A little preface is in order. This link will help clear things up.
Late July will always hold a special place in my memory. It’s hard to believe that it was only two years ago when I sitting in hotel in Salt Lake City, rubbing elbows with future NFL players at Western Athletic Conference media days. A yearly gathering for college football conferences prior to the start of fall camp, media days provide a relaxed atmosphere for coaches, players, and league officials to preview the upcoming season for members of the media.
The three-day event is beyond description for a 21-year old college football junkie with a hope to make a career out of sports journalism. I remember coming in with this grand plan that I was going to sweep commissioner Karl Benson off his feet and somehow guarantee myself a job with the conference staff out West.
Psh, like it actually worked out that way. Two years later, Karl (a great guy, mind you) is the head of the Sun Belt Conference, I’m working a desk job in Maryland, and the WAC stares down its finale season as a conference.
The conference wasn’t without its good days. From Boise State’s epic BCS “busting” campaign and subsequent win over Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, to its bygone days in which BYU and Air Force built dynasties, The WAC exemplified all a college football fan could want.
With the WAC goes a part of me, — a sense of the goofy college kid in me, if you will. It was during that summer that I arm-wrestled current NFL players like Colin Kaepernick, getting a pleasant reminder that future careers — of success, or of failure — can wait. Even future NFL stars, I learned, really aren’t that different than the goofy college newspaper editor.
Eventually we all eventually move onto different things, and as I watch the coaches and players of the current conference assemble for one final season, I’m reminded that just because we exit the field on one Saturday, doesn’t mean we can’t stride onto another the next year.