Column: Life of Gluskin

By Jon Gluskin

Since I started reading Sports Illustrated years ago, I’ve wanted my name up there. I wanted to be Rick Reilly – have my own column, with my picture and a place to give my views on sports to readers.

The circulation might be a little different and the pay might be a little less, but writing for the Daily Illini gave me this incredible opportunity. For the past two-and-a-half years, I’ve covered sports in the paper. For the past year-and-a-half, I’ve had a column. And now, this is it – the last one.

When I first started writing columns, I had no idea what I was doing. And now I still don’t know what I’m doing.

But I hope at least once I was able to give you something. Maybe there was a sentence that caught your attention. Maybe I had a paragraph that made you laugh. Maybe there was even an entire column you actually liked. But if you did read any of my writing, I’d like to say thank you.

I know a lot of my opinions are way out there – from praising Daunte Culpepper to bashing Tom Brady – and it’s easy to disagree with a lot of what I wrote. But that’s one of the things that makes sports so wonderful and makes writing about sports so much fun – everyone has their own opinion.

Being a sports fan, you choose to see things your own way. You put your favorite teams and players on a pedestal while overlooking everyone else. So even if you disagreed with something (or everything) that I wrote, I hope at least you thought about what I was saying. Since this is my last column, I want to thank all those people that helped me become a success at doing this.

I also have to thank my biggest fans – my family. It’s a great feeling knowing no matter what you write every week, I was going to have at least two readers. No matter what I wrote, my parents would always tell me they liked it. Their encouragement and support has gotten me to where I am today.

College would not have been the same without my friends. They were always there with a column idea, support or just to bash everything that I had to say and let me know why I was wrong. Jeremy, we lived together for four years and got in hundreds of fights – not one didn’t involve sports. Blum, Thal, Mike, Heller, Elliot, Bobby and Jordan – the Colony was an absolute blast and it was great knowing I could always go downstairs and there was some game on TV and some sport to debate about.

Dr. Raycraft – I told you I’d keep my promise and get you in here – you have had a tremendous impact in my life over the past two years. From our talks about sports to picking on me about anything, I appreciate all you’ve done for me.

And tonight, when I’m taking my last final of college, I’m going to take your advice that you recommend to all graduating students. After filling out that last scantron bubble, I’m going to put my pencil down and just take it all in. After taking tests since 5-years-old, this is it.

Dee, Deron, James, Luther, Roger, Bruce and the rest of the Illini over the past four seasons, thank you.

And saving the best for last, from the bottom of my heart I need to give thanks to my Baby. Without you, my senior year would not have been the same. You are my motivation to get out of bed every morning and make the most of my day. I’m the luckiest guy on this planet for having you in my life.

And I know I’m not supposed to say this being a sports columnist, but for the first time in my life, sports were the not the most important thing to me. But watching sports has never been as fun as they are watching them with you. Seeing your face light up after Chris Chambers made a miraculous catch in the Pro Bowl was truly priceless. You even gave me the idea of writing a column about Michelle Kwan, both an athlete and a sport I never thought I’d focus on.

So what may seem like a year-and-a-half of one whiny, inexperienced writer, was actually one columnist influenced by a magnitude of individuals. I could never have done it alone and I always give credit where credit is due. Once again, thanks to everyone who has been an inspirational part of my life. You helped make this column all that it was.

Jon Gluskin is a senior in Communications. He can be reached at [email protected]