It wasn’t supposed to be anything. It was supposed to be a place for a few freshmen to write about sports. We had no editors; Michael’s father used to email him pointing out all of the typos. We had no ambitions. We just had our opinions and internet access.
It was Kofie who first saw the vision: the need for more sports journalism opportunities at the University of Maryland. It was Justin who found the niche in high school recruiting. It was Michael who made it his mission to execute Kofie’s massive ideas. It took six months to build a staff, one year to win an award and three years to start a television show.
But the community came quicker.
The Left Bench became something far greater than anything we could have ever imagined. It became a haven for those interested in sports journalism to hone their craft. It became a stepping-stone towards internships. And we can actually say it became a pipeline towards employment after college.
The time for us has now come and gone. We have taken The Left Bench as far as we could before graduation. In one week, our time at Maryland will come to a close, and thus our time with the publication we have built from the ground up will too end. There are a few people we must thank before we leave.
First to the other graduating seniors: you helped make TLB what it is today. Maggie Gottlieb became our Managing Editor a year after the Left Bench started and built an editing staff herself. Connor Mount was one of our first writers and has stuck with us since the beginning, covering football and baseball along the way. Emily Olsen created the D.C. United beat, cultivating relationships with professional athletes. Ann Parangot joined in her senior year, but quickly became a producer of TLBTV, revolutionizing the broadcast department of the site. Brandon Wong launched a track section for the site, something that wouldn’t have happened without him.
We’d also like to thank everyone at the Merrill College and the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism. Without the support of George Solomon, Beth Mechum, Dave Ottalini, Olive Reid, Rafael Lorente, Dean Lucy Dalglish and the incredible faculty and staff at the Merrill College, none of this could be possible.
A massive thank you to everyone who has worked for us over the last few years. You believed in us and dedicated your time and effort to making our dreams come true. We hope that our work will be able to do the same for you.
Lastly, we want to thank every single person who has ever read an article, listened to a podcast or watched a TLBTV episode. We’ve come a long way. We couldn’t have done it without you.
So this is it. Four years later we have moved on from the Cumberland Hall lounge. We pass the site on to Jake Brodsky, our first Recruiting Director and our new Editor in Chief. We know the site will flourish and we look forward to watching it grow.
Thank you all. It’s been a hell of a ride.
Justin Meyer, Kofie Yeboah and Michael Stern
The Left Bench Co-Founders