A rambling look back on the past four years

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Kyle Brennan

I’m about to ramble — semi-coherently and quasi-emotionally — so if you don’t care for that nonsense or if you just don’t like me, feel free to skip and continue enjoying this week’s paper.

I graduated from Quinnipiac University May 20 with a bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude, might I add) in broadcast journalism and concentrations in sports studies (surprise) and history.

I managed to finish up in three years thanks to a semester-and-a-half’s worth of Advanced Placement credits from my days back at Woodland (they’re really worth it, kids and parents). I’ll officially get my degree in October, once I finish up my last internship with the sports guys at WFSB this summer.

That internship is going great, by the way. You might have seen my hand doing some interviews on the late sportscasts during the end of our high school sports coverage. That’s really no big deal, but to my grandma it might as well be the fist of Walter Cronkite.

So where’s this all going? I don’t know, exactly, but I figured now is as good a time as ever to start reflecting before I start looking forward to whatever life will bring next.

Y’all might remember my first story at Citizen’s News, way back on Aug. 29, 2008. I was just about to start my senior year of high school when I got an e-mail from Callum Borchers, the sports editor at the time. It turns out he asked the journalism advisors at both high schools to see if there were any students who might like to help cover their schools.

Woodland’s Jim Amato — you know him of volleyball and boys tennis coaching fame — happened to recommend me. And that’s why you’ve been stuck with me for the last four years.

My debut story was a doozy. I faux-tried out for the Hawks’ girls volleyball team, playing it off as a real tryout until the story was published on the last Friday of August.

I’m reading that column as I write this one and can do nothing but shake my head. I mean, I wrapped bandages around my knees and thought they would suffice as pads. My goodness, I was dumb.

I’ve done a few other ridiculous pieces since. I’m reminded of the duck scavenger hunt I embarked upon with my best pal Craig for the Oct. 30, 2009 edition. I have been pulled over for one thing in my driving career: Trying to search for a fake duck in an industrial park.

But many of my stories — not just the unconventional and (often) embarrassing ones — are a ton of fun. I thoroughly enjoy being able to go to high schools around the Valley and tell the tales of the superb athletes in Beacon Falls, Naugatuck and Prospect.

Okay, an admission: I also thoroughly enjoy when readers of this paper, the Republican-American or my Naugatuck Valley League football blog come up and introduce themselves at games. It makes me feel important for whatever reason. Not that I should.

Speaking of the Rep-Am, it’s been awesome to work at the daily paper for the past two years. Those guys brought me on after seeing some of my stuff around and we both lived happily ever after. (Side note: It’s a good thing I was pretty much recruited for both of these newspaper gigs because I’m too scared to ask for most things myself.)

I’ll probably be taking a step up in my workload there come the fall now that I’m all done with school, so maybe you’ll see my face on those pages a little more (I promise I’ll have a new headshot soon; I know how much some of you hate it).

Some of you have asked what I might want to do someday. I went into college wanting to be a play-by-play broadcaster, and I still pretty much want to do that more than anything. But if writing stays my thing, I wouldn’t be against that at all.

I once had an English teacher, Gail Novaco, who I had my last semester of high school at Woodland. That was about the time I was just starting to settle in here and really beginning to get more comfortable with experimenting a little bit.

She always made a big deal of telling students in class to find their voices in writing, whatever that may have been. And I remember the day that she told me that I had found my voice. I usually don’t get too excited over compliments but that one was different. That was important.

Since then, I’ve tried to tweak this voice of mine to really suit the kind of story I’m trying to tell. Y’all pretty much can tell by now (I think) when I’m being serious, complimentary, condescending, upset or excited, and I hope my awkward attempts at humor don’t make you shake your heads too much. Jack of all trades, master of none, right?

I’m running out of things to say for now and too much rambling renders writing ineffective. So I’ll call it quits for today. Thank you all so much for reading and sharing your thoughts with me over the years. You put up with me while I was first learning and while I’m still trying to get better, and for that I am most appreciative.

Here’s hoping you stick around for whatever I come up with next.