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Jacobs: Until next time, ‘au revoir’

Published: Thursday, March 6, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

There are a lot of ways to say goodbye, ranging from “Parting is such sweet sorrow” to “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

You can say goodbye in hundreds of different languages, ranging from “agur” (Basque) to “xudafiz” (Azerbaijani). Many languages have several ways to say goodbye, including English – “so long,” “farewell,” “see you later,” etc. There’s about a dozen different ways to say it in German. In French, “adieu” and “au revoir” are among the options.

I took a year of French in college and I always preferred to say “au revoir,” mostly because I thought it was more fun to say. If I recall correctly, there also was an air of finality associated with “adieu,” while “au revoir,” literally meant “see you again.”

In some languages, the same word can mean hello or goodbye, like the Italian, “ciao.”

I guess I’m rambling on about the subject of goodbyes because I can’t quite figure out how to say goodbye to you and all the other loyal readers of this column. It’s been my privilege to have done a couple of stints writing the “On Campus” column, adding up to about three years. I’ve interviewed well more than 100 local college athletes in that time and it’s been a great pleasure getting to know each and every one of them.

It’s not uncommon for people from older generations – like myself – to suggest that today’s youth are lazier than they were at their age or less moral or more self-involved, etc. But I’ve never felt that way, I think in part because of all the interviews I’ve done with young people over the years. I’m amazed at the accomplishments of so many of them. Most of the athletes featured in this column are also outstanding students, using extraordinary time-management skills to balance going to classes, practicing their sport, and studying. Remarkably, many also still find time to take part in community service activities.

Of course, some credit for the success of these young people must go to their parents, as well as other adults who shaped their lives, like their high school coaches. We’re blessed in this area with many outstanding coaches who are just as interested in helping to shape winning individuals as they are in winning games. One of my favorite memories of my time with the Kane County Chronicle was watching St. Francis volleyball coach Peg Kopec grab the PA microphone before a very important match to chastise the Spartan student section for not being as respectful to the opponent as she thought they should be. To their credit, the students were on their best behavior after that. When a Hall of Fame coach tells you to do something, you better do it.

I also want to take a moment to thank Kopec and all of the coaches I’ve pestered after games for the past eight-plus years I’ve been covering high school sports for the Chronicle. It’s not easy to stand around and answer questions from reporters a few minutes after your team has lost a big game, but virtually without exception, the coaches from our area always have been gracious in giving their time – win or lose.

I am starting a new chapter in my journalism career as editor of The Lockport Legend newspaper, so this is my final week with the Chronicle. I’m excited about this new opportunity, but already starting to miss some of the great people I’ve come to know over the past few years, including sports editor Jay Schwab and sports reporter Kevin Druley. I’d like to thank both of them publicly for the help they have given me.

Jay’s patience and understanding under the pressure of deadlines should perhaps qualify him for sainthood.

And Kevin perhaps had even more difficult situations face him where I was concerned because every time something unexpected went wrong, it seems like it happened on his watch. So, thanks to both you guys for putting up with me.

Finally, thanks to you, the reader, for your continued interest and support in this column and your many story ideas. I couldn’t use them all, but I tried to get to as many as I could.

I don’t know if our paths will cross again, so rather than saying “goodbye,” I think for now I’ll just say, “au revoir.”

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