Game day came around like clockwork on Saturday, Nov. 16 as I found myself gearing up for Boise State’s football game against the University of New Mexico. The Broncos were heavily favored over the Lobos, who were winless in the conference. As the sports editor for The Arbiter, I knew it would be another late night of analyzing the game from the Stueckle Sky Center thanks to the 8:15 p.m. kickoff, a time slot that would likely put us at a 2:00 a.m. clock-out, per usual.
But in the middle of my typical scrambled preparation of picking out a good blazer and searching for my press pass, I received a text from our sports reporter, Autum Robertson — my football-expert partner in crime — that offered a perspective which had not yet crossed my mind.
“It’s our last game day of college,” she wrote.
This stopped me dead in my tracks. I realized that the season had gone by so quickly, and we had been so enamored with our work in game coverage for The Arbiter that Robertson and I had not set aside much time to attend a game as students instead of reporters. At the time, we were not sure that the Broncos would host the Mountain West Championship, so with the regular season coming to an abrupt end right before our eyes, we thought it might also be our last home football game as students.
At first, this did not affect me much. Who else gets to spend their college years sitting in a press box among the best media professionals in the city? But that day turned out to strike a different chord with me than the work-centered attitude I had been so focused on all season.
Throughout my time as a sports writer and editor for The Arbiter, I have often grappled with the concept of balance. How could I objectively report on the wins and losses of several Bronco teams while suppressing my own school spirit? Which was more important to me: supporting my peers in their competitions while spending time with my friends, or serving the campus community by reporting the news of such events?
I have since realized there is no right answer, nor do I necessarily have to choose between the two. To be a student journalist is a unique opportunity to view campus through multiple lenses. The experience of being a student is part of what makes events like football games so fun as a reporter.
Thus, Robertson and I decided to put our press passes aside for the night and fully embrace our school spirit with the rest of the student crowd, and I will be forever grateful that we did.
Throughout the evening, I felt as though I had a special appreciation for everything that came with being a student-fan, from the $2 hotdogs to the unassigned seating and the passionate cheering of everyone around me. I could even appreciate and empathize with those students who decided to call it a night at half time because their beloved Broncos were leading 28-0.
It was a bittersweet experience. I finally got to cheer for touchdowns and boo for questionable calls. I knew I would likely never find myself in the student section again, but that did not make me sad. I was beyond happy that I chose to attend my last game as a Bronco, but will also forever value the opportunity to have spent many other games in the press box.
We will always have time for work; most of us will work for the rest of our lives. We have all the time in the world to prioritize our careers, build our portfolios, network with professionals and stay up far too late to meet deadlines. This work will be important, but we will never get our simple, blissful college moments back — even if that moment is a chilly, late-night blow-out of a football game.
So, Boise State upperclassmen, I urge you to take advantage of your lasts; your last 15-page paper, your last philharmonic concert, your last service-learning project or your last tree-lighting ceremony. But I especially encourage you, specifically in the case of the Mountain West Championship game this Saturday, to embrace your last game day as an official Boise State Bronco. Odds are, you won’t regret it.