I hate goodbyes. I don't like closure. And moving on is sometimes hard to swallow.
But I didn't want to leave my position with Vanderbilt Athletics without thanking Commodore fans for making the last eight years of my life an incredible experience. Thank you.
I was lucky enough to have a job that gave me a behind-the-scenes look at the Commodores--something most fans would trade for in a heartbeat. I always tried to remember that thought each day, so I documented as much as I could for you guys, especially during tournament trips.
Nothing meant more to me than seeing a positive fan reaction to one of our initiatives. While I didn't get everything right, I fought hard to do as much as I could for you. Yes, I crashed and burned at times, but feel like there were several victories for the betterment of the program.
The best part of my job? Working with Vanderbilt's tremendous student-athletes and interacting with passionate fans who have stood by the program even when it was tough. Your dedication is unrivaled.
I won't be a stranger, either. I have accepted a position at Vanderbilt's Peabody College and still plan to be a regular at Commodore events to cheer on the best kids in collegiate sports. And who knows, maybe Frank the Dancin' Dog will do a reunion tour.
If you see me, please say hello (and not goodbye).
I'd like to also include some of my favorite memories -- in no particular order -- since joining athletics in the fall of 2003:
**Victory in Knoxville. Cutler to Bennett. Everyone knows what that moment meant.
**The 2008 football team breaking the 26-year bowl drought with a win over Boston College on a freezing night "on the banks of the Cumberland River" (as Joe Fisher called it). Grown men crying after the final whistle said it all.
**90,000+ Georgia fans silenced in Sanford Stadium after Bryant Hahnfeldt's game-winning field goal. As I walked to the locker room, the only sound I could hear were 100 rowdy Commodores celebrating with Coach Johnson.
**ESPN GameDay coming to Vanderbilt. What a special day it was to see the Commodore community unite in front of a national viewing audience.
**Getting to be in the football war room the night before National Signing Day this year to see Coach Franklin and his staff seal the deal on their first recruiting class. It was such a rush; felt like a scene out of a movie.
**Sitting in Arco Arena when Derrick Byars popped his jersey in front of the VU section after the Dores' double-overtime win against Washington State. That was an "elite" team in my opinion.
**Watching the Commodores rally past NC State in a local sports grille. It was standing room only and everyone in the place was hugging after the miraculous comeback in the 2004 NCAA Tournament. Matt Freije took over in the final minutes and Mario Moore hit Corey Smith on a backdoor pass that had us jumping up and down.
**Shan Foster's 42-point game on senior night, a performance I'll never witness again in my lifetime. I have to watch the clip over and over again to know it really happened.
**Being at Virginia as the baseball team captured their first ever regional championship in 2004. Hats off to Coach Corbin, D.J. and the rest of the staff for making Vanderbilt one of the top names in households across the country.
**Waiting at Hawkins Field for an hour after the Commodores' win over LSU to find out if VU had clinched the 2007 SEC regular season championship. Several hundred fans hung around, too, just to be a part of the moment.
**Hearing the Black and Gold chant rock Hawkins Field past midnight at the 2007 Regional with fans lined up on every floor of the 25th Avenue garage just to catch a glimpse of the action. Still gives me goose bumps.
**More: MBB topples No. 1 Florida and their 17-game win streak; Three WBB SEC Tournament titles (Duluth trip sticks out to me); MBB's 40-point win over Kentucky (Neltner's winning); Shea Robin and Jason Cunningham star in VU's four-run rally in the bottom of the 10th in the 2007 SEC Baseball Tournament semifinals; Foster's last-second putback vs. Tennessee; Mario's 30-footer at the buzzer against Oregon; Balcomb's first victory over UT; David Price and Casey Weathers fan 22 in VU's 11-inning regional classic vs. Austin Peay; Connor Harrell steals a homer and squeezes in the winning run in Louisville Regional.
The list could go on and on. I know I've left out a bunch of moments, but I think you get the point. I was blessed to work for the Commodores during a very special period in school history.
If you'd like to keep in touch with me, I'll still have my Twitter account @BarcaBlog.
I'll leave you with a few of my trademark videos of the day.
1. Ah yes, the memories... even if cats creep me out. (no tears please)
2. A couple of my closest friends reminisce about the good times...
3. I wish I knew what these WWF superstars claim to know...
4. Finally, if you're ever having a bad day, this tune will do the trick. Frank's go-to song: