Farewell column: Thankful

Dan Davidson, Former Sports Editor

In August 2019, The Appalachian deployed its editorial board across campus to conduct interviews for an annual back-to-school story. Former Sports Editor, Silas Albright, wandered the sixth floor of Gardner Hall searching for a potential interviewee candidate. Tucked away in the back right corner was room 605, where he met an overly ambitious, sports-obsessed freshman who months later would serve as his Associate Sports Editor. 

Fast forward four not-quite-long-enough years, and that kid’s time with The Appalachian draws to a close. 

In what felt like a matter of months, those four years tallied numerous group accomplishments and changes; thousands of articles, dozens of print issues, four editors-in-chief, two advisors, two newsrooms, one dreadful pandemic and countless awards brought home by North Carolina’s premier student newspaper. 

During the same time, I had a front row seat to a historic run for App State athletics; 52 football games, 242 basketball games, multiple Sun Belt and SoCon championships, three bowl games and one NCAA Tournament appearance. 

From game-winning field goals and a Hail Mary miracle in Kidd Brewer, to several buzzer-beating buckets in the Holmes Center, to yearly domination on the mat in Varsity Gym, the Black and Gold allowed me to learn the ropes of sports reporting on a magical stage. 

As time goes on and my name quickly fades from The Appalachian and App State, those memories will remain with me. For that, I am thankful. 

I’m thankful for The Appalachian and the many invaluable lessons learned through it. I’m thankful for all those who came to be a coworker, mentor and friend at The Appalachian. I’m thankful for every member of the sports desk over the past four years, who worked alongside me and filled every meeting with laughter and passionate debate. 

I’m thankful for my friends and family who loved me through every day of joy and night of sorrow during college. I’m thankful for my parents, Jim and Lisa, and my siblings, Will, Mary and Neely, whom I love dearly. I’m thankful for my friends Connor, Harrison and Trenton, who remain my best friends. And I’m thankful for the many friends I have come to know and love through my time in Boone. 

Ultimately, I’m thankful to have walked alongside the Lord for the past four years. At times I wandered, at times I drew near, but through it all, Jesus loved me, as He loves us all. It is by the light of that grace that I plot my next steps and the rest of my life.