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Column: Time to Grow Up

By Matt Stypulkoski
On February 25, 2014

Within the next week, the words will be ringing inside my head.

"It's time to grow up, now."

It's true. Just about 10 weeks from graduation, it's time to grow up. It's time to revise resumes, fill out applications, leverage networking contacts. It's time to find a job. Time to make a living.

Time to be an adult.

Next Wednesday, and this Saturday for that matter, is a gateway to the future. After all, Senior Day isn't only for the players.

It may be Shabazz Napier who strolls to midcourt March 5, but it's the final go-round for every senior in attendance. For every student who's spent four years strolling this campus, roaming the halls of these buildings and filling Gampel Pavilion with life, Wednesday night marks one final chance to be at home.

Same goes for Saturday afternoon. It may be Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley that are inducted into the Huskies of Honor, but each senior in the stands will reflect on memories and contemplate their final few hours within those walls as a student fan. On press row, I'll think back on how fortunate I've been to cover this team the past two seasons.

Many of us will return in the years that follow, attempting to reclaim a piece of our youth. But never again will it be the same. We'll never be students again. In many ways, it's the last hurrah.

Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe it's time to move on. But that doesn't mean we have to like it.

Hell, I can nearly guarantee that the final buzzer on Wednesday will draw tears from me - and there will likely be plenty earlier in the night as well.

The best memories of my UConn experience have come inside Gampel (and occasionally that Hartford dump, too).

Taking down Brittney Griner in my first ever UConn basketball game. Kemba's floater over 'Nova. Charles Okwandu fist-pumping his way off the floor after an 11-rebound performance against Providence. A national championship rager

Jeremy Lamb's poster-worthy dunk. Losing my $#*! after a huge run against Marquette. Going buckwild for College GameDay (and Roscoe Smith getting hacked at the buzzer).

Watching Skylar Diggins and Notre Dame escape (twice) by a single possession. Sending Syracuse out the right way. Pushing Otto Porter and the Hoyas to double OT. Eking past Providence and crying during a video dedicated to perhaps the most enjoyable 20-10 college basketball team there's ever been.

The Bazz-er-beater to take down Florida. Ollie getting tossed (and 10,000 people tossing pleasantries out the window to let the refs know how they felt). Scraping by against Memphis.

And those are just the highlights.

As a little kid, I grew up yearning to be a part of a student section - to be like those crazy, screaming students I saw on TV. Over my four years at UConn, I've managed to appease that 6-year-old's dream.

But now, it's time to grow up. Just not before I add Senior Night to that list.

Enjoy your final games, seniors. We may not get a plaque, or a framed jersey for our efforts these past few years, but hold on to that ticket stub and cherish the memories.


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