On Retirement: Leaving a Legacy

Jordan Plaut

First off, I would like to thank you for reading. This is an important transitional moment for any college senior and it means a great deal that you’ve taken the time – now or at any point over the last four years – to examine life at Colgate by way of The Maroon-News. Additionally, if you’re reading this and don’t enjoy extended sports metaphors just try to keep your eye on the ball…  

In any case, I would like to take this opportunity to announce my retirement from life as a college amateur. I implore you to ignore speculation claiming I was forced into this decision by upper management or the absurd notion of “time constraints.” I have made this choice after considerable thought and deliberation and can honestly say I have no regrets. Before I go, however, I feel compelled to share some tidbits that have defined my experience playing in the Colgate conference. With any luck, readers from the rookies (sorry, “first-years”) to the veterans will find something of value in my words.

When I first joined Colgate as a walk-on in the fall of 2010, I knew that I wanted to get involved but I wasn’t quite sure how. I decided to attend spring training (pre-orientation) so I could settle in and possibly gain some experience as a Maroon-News reporter. I had recently determined that writing was a strong suit of mine so what better place to start? Still, I wasn’t certain if reporter would be the right position for me going into the regular season. I expected there would be other positions open on squads throughout the league, but there were no guarantees of starting time or a dedicated fan base. Ultimately, after meeting and practicing with the Maroon-News’ National Sports Editor, junior Mike LeClair, I felt comfortable committing to the team for at least the semester. Mike showed me the ropes and gave me the confidence to pursue my ever-expanding skills.

When it became apparent that I could enjoy an increased role on the team after relatively little experience, I was hooked. I’ve advanced from reporter to assistant editor to section editor to editor-in-chief in the last four years, all the while learning about what I want from a professional career in the process.

 My dedication to and success at the newspaper does not represent the full extent of my outreach as a Colgate amateur. Around the same time that I was committing to The Maroon-News, I was approached by another junior who had been heavily involved in the Blue Diamond Society (BDS) – a Jewish men’s social and philanthropic group – named Matt Zaringhalam. I had recently befriended another rookie, Albert Raminfard, who lived with me on the fourth floor of East Hall; Albert had already met Matt so I figured I should get to know him. It couldn’t hurt meeting another established veteran.

After hanging with Matt and some of his friends a few times, I was asked to join BDS as a member. Without hesitation, I agreed. I had already interacted with some of the guys and I knew I would be able to engage with BDS on my own terms. I was used to and had enjoyed philanthropy work prior to Colgate so that aspect was not a burden by any means. I also had a built-in social outlet as a rookie while the majority of the guys my age had to wait until their sophomore slumps to get a shot at the player perks.

Since that point, BDS and The Maroon-News have been the focal points of my time at Colgate. Though it would have been difficult, I’m sure I could have added another team to the list – but I can honestly say I would be entirely lost without these two. You may have guessed it by now, but neither of these opportunities would have presented themselves were it not for the efforts of those junior veterans who took an interest in me. Sure, other teams might have recognized my skills sooner or later, but I cannot even fathom what my time as an amateur would have been like without the players on my teams.

Those juniors provide an excellent lesson for you, reader, as you will soon become a veteran yourself (and even a retiree – gasp). I’d like to think that I provided that same guidance and encouragement to a few youngsters along the way. The more I think about it, in fact, the more I realize that I’m as ready as ever to retire. It really has been one hell of a ride.

Just do me one favor, would you? When you step into the batter’s box, next week or next month or next year, don’t be afraid to swing at the first pitch. It might just be the best one you’ll see.

Contact Jordan Plaut at [email protected].