Senior column: ‘Smile because it happened’

Some people claim that they chose their college because, “they knew in their heart,” or that, “it felt like home when they first stepped on campus.” That could not be any less true for me.

Four years ago, as a 17-year-old high school senior, I had no idea what I wanted in a college. I had visited several colleges in the northeast, but I was indecisive and loved at least five or six of them. All I really knew was that I was interested in journalism and had a passion for sports, specifically college basketball.

Photo via Facebook/Andrew Lombardo

Growing up in Connecticut, I was raised as a diehard Husky. The 2004 National Championship team was the first memory I have as a college basketball fan, rooting for legends like Emeka Okafor and Ben Gordon. I remember my dad taking my brother Stephen and I to the championship parade a few days later, where I had my first glimpse of the crowds and passion that make college basketball so great. I was only 8 years old, but I already knew I had to attend a university with a rich basketball tradition.

In the end, my adoration for Seton Hall made the difference. I loved multiple other schools I visited and I probably would have been just fine at any of them. They all had phenomenal journalism programs, but Seton Hall set itself apart because of the opportunity to write for The Setonian and cover a high-level college basketball program.

Four years later, I cannot be any happier with the decision I made as an indecisive, immature 17-year-old. Seton Hall has blessed me with several life-long friends and more than a few memories to cherish.

As much as I love many of the other aspects of Seton Hall, most of my favorite memories come from the men’s basketball team. Years from now, I know that I will reminisce of these days and tell my kids stories about this senior class, each of them a Pirates legend. I will definitely force them to rewatch our 2016 Big East championship on YouTube with me, so they can see the immense pride I have as a Seton Hall Pirate.

I still lose my mind watching Isaiah Whitehead’s game winning layup hang on the rim.

And when the pain wears off, I will show them our game against Kansas so they can understand just how dominating Angel Delgado was. As much as I can talk about his beastly nature under the basket, words will never do him justice. He was a man possessed, a spectacle, and will live in Big East lore forever.

After the loss to Kansas, I felt a rush of emotion. Yes, I was upset we lost, but I was more upset that I would never get to see these seniors in a Pirate uniform again. It hit me that I would not cover another men’s basketball game for The Setonian again, and I was devastated that my time at Seton Hall was coming to a end. A few hours later, after digesting the loss and speaking with friends, I realized how many priceless memories I had made the past four years and how great my experiences truly were. Dr. Suess put it best for me. “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

Andrew Lombardo is a senior journalism major from Middletown, Conn. He can be reached at andrew.lombardo@student.shu.edu

Author: Andrew Lombardo

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