Amanda González: My highlight reel as a retiring sports editor

On a cold, blustery day in September of 2014, I attended my first soccer match as a reporter for Hilltop Views.

The night before, I studied the rule book and roster, analyzing stats of key players. At the game, I sat behind the loudest parent I could find, Jack Blanton’s dad, and took note of his colorful commentary.

The thought of interviewing athletes and coaches was a little nerve wrecking. I planned questions before, and jotted down a few more during the game as the sky became dark and rainy.

Just my luck. It started pouring right before the final horn sounded, signaling a St. Edward’s victory. Several of the athletes were already putting on their jackets, so now I couldn’t tell them apart by jersey numbers.

I found Head Coach Brian Young near the team bench. He was thoughtful in his interview responses, and then pointed me to the two senior players I wanted to interview: Danny Riley and Andrew Fox.

Besides their British accents, they spoke really fast and added onto each other’s thoughts about the team’s success and goals for the season. As I tried to quote them by hand, the pen’s ink smudged in the rain. I didn’t know I could have simply asked them for permission to voice record on my phone.

That rookie mistake taught me that having self confidence is already half the battle, for both awkward interviews and writing in a public medium. Just doing the best you can is often good enough.

This sums up my journalistic approach: prepare ahead, continue learning and share emotions. In covering several championships and writing commentaries, three years of serving as a staff writer and sports editor have flown by.

From witnessing milestones and homeruns to profiling Charles the dog to sharing the history of integrating female students on campus — it’s been a trusted privilege and humbling honor to hold the pen. Thank you to all my readers, sources and mentors!

I will be studying in Spain next semester to finish my Spanish minor. And although it’s tough letting go of my beloved sports editor role, I’m looking forward to writing for the “Voices from Abroad” section, reading HV articles online and streaming SEU sporting events from Madrid.

Regarding sports specifically, I want to thank all the SEU coaches, athletes, fans and parents, Logan Lawrence and Sam Boender, Debbie Taylor, Andy Lemons and Abby Caswell for your time and support. What you do matters, and how you play the game matters. Sports stories matter, and looking beyond the box score matters, too.

Hilltopper alumni Karina Varela, James Stukes, Shawn Weinstein, Robert Jaques, Sgt. Nick Delgado and former Sgt. Bobby Garcia of UPD, and Anthony Geronimo, thanks for making me a more ambitious sports writer.

I have met so many wonderful people along the way who have made a lasting impact on my heart.

Brother Gerald Muller, I’ve always thought of you as the “Mr. Rogers” of St. Edward’s; I appreciate your handwritten cards and words of encouragement. Father Peter Walsh, Lisa Kirkpatrick, James Puglisi and Chris Garcia, thank you for always acknowledging the efforts of student journalists.

To Boyce, Derek and Manny who work for Bon Appetit, thank you for always making me laugh (and for knowing I like extra green beans).

Many thanks to my advisors Maribel Tostado, Natacha Martin, Kim Bowen, Michael Merrill, Georgia Seminet and Caroline Morris for helping me plan my collegiate endeavors accordingly.

Thank you to professor Beth Eakman for initially pointing me towards HV and the English Writing major during my freshman year.

Thank you to the following professors: Jena Heath, Jim Vertuno, Josh Hinkle, Curt Yowell, Amy Clements, Lynn Rudloff, Mary Rist, Don Unger, Drew Loewe, Daniel Glenn, David Thomason, Steven Rodenborn, Jason Stinnett, Moriah McCracken, Maude Adjarian and Sharon Nell for bestowing your knowledge and wisdom upon me.

You all helped an inquisitive, baseball cap-wearing kid who sits in the front row figure out her passions. I’m still trying to decide if grad school, sports writing, teaching journalism or maybe even politics is the right path for me. Regardless, you all have prepared me for whichever journey I embark on.

To my HV family: Whether it was arguing over a lede for two hours or working in the office until 2 a.m., thank you for helping me grow as a writer and editor and person. What we do isn’t easy, but it’s important.

There’s a lot of parts that make the machine work. Thank you to the former editors who taught me the ropes. To our photographers and graphic designers, you all make everything look good and draw people into the words on the page. To our copy editors, thank you for being my extra set of eyes. And many thanks to our staff writers and reporters for helping us share more stories.

Hannah Thornby, Lyanne Guarecuco, Max Lillard, Jacob Sanchez, Jacob Rogers, Rosemond Crown, Hannah Lieck, Jackie Schicker, Raneem Ashrawi, Riana Soobadoo, Audrey Eads, Sara Katona, Victoria Cavazos, Andrea Guzman, Gabrielle Wilkosz, Sabrina Rohwer, Paula Santos, Bridget Henderson, all of you taught me a valuable lesson at some point, and I’m better for having worked with all of you.

To all our newer staff members, you all are so dedicated and truly great at what you do. Brandon Paz, I’m sure you will do a great job as the new sports editor.

There are at least 40 (my pronunciation of the number) words we could use to describe Andre Hall, and one of them is “memorable.” I’m proud of all we’ve accomplished, and I wish HV all the best in the years to come! #WeDidntStartTheFire

Thank you to the PSJA ISD Public Relations Department for welcoming me as an intern during the summer of 2016. Thank you to Michael Reeves for allowing me to intern at James Bowie High School as a journalism teacher’s assistant this semester. Both positions taught me a lot about the strength and sacrifices educators make each and every day.

I would also like to thank my La Trinidad United Methodist Church family for your prayers.

To my high-school journalism teachers Armando “Rod” Rodriguez and Cristina Rendon, as well as my former principal Narciso Garcia, thank you for encouraging me to write, and for motivating me to be the best version of myself while I attended PSJA North Early College High School in my hometown of Pharr, Texas.

Thank you to my friends Dayanira Velasco, Victoria Flores and Mariah Olivarez for being like family and embarking on Austin adventures with me. Allison Mojica and Leyda Estrada, you two are such great friends, too.

I’m so proud of everything y’all are doing, and how we’ve each witnessed each other finding our passions along the way.

I’d like to extend my deepest gratitude to my biggest supporters: my parents Letty and Daniel, as well as my younger brothers Adrian and Alan. Thank you to my loving grandparents for your words of wisdom, and my extended family in Round Rock for letting me come over when I missed home. 

At freshman orientation, each student is supposed to make a list of goals they want to accomplish while at St. Edward’s. My mom recently reminded me that a goal of mine was to have at least one article published in the newspaper. I now have more than 200 stories with my byline on them.

As Shakespeare once wrote, “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood leads on to fortune.”

I am blessed to attend this university that grants me the opportunity to take the current and chase my dreams with integrity. Looking forward, I’ll be returning to Austin in January of 2018 for my final semester as a Hilltopper. Until then, todo mi amor.