Day 53: Thank You, New York

Dayna DeBlasi 2017

And in the blink of an eye, we went from MSBA students to MSBA Class of 2017 alums. I wish the saying “all good things must come to an end” wasn’t true, but as good of a thing as this summer has been, I’m slowly but surely accepting the fact that it can’t last forever. Change is inevitable, and goodbyes are hard. Especially this one.

In an effort to prolong any attempt at formulating all of the feelings I have about MSBA ending into words, let me first start by telling you about my amazing day. Since my eight-week internship started a week earlier than MSBA, it ended a week earlier as well. So naturally, I took full advantage of my five whole days of “funemployment” by checking off as many NYC bucket list items as I possibly could while also continuing to grow professionally. Eight weeks ago, my idea of a perfect day-off never would have included a 7am wake up call, but on a day like today (like every day this summer) I had so much to look forward to. I mean I am still a 21-year-old college student, so after a few snoozes on the alarm clock I was (somewhat willingly) up and at ‘em for a few meetings with some amazing industry professionals at both the NBA and Bleacher Report – again, something I wouldn’t have even thought possible for pre-MSBA Dayna.

After a productive morning, I spent the rest of the day taking in all that the city has to offer. I went to see a Broadway show – Come From Away – with Eleni, my funemployed counterpart; as if my emotions weren’t already running high enough, this musical had me in tears one minute and dying of laughter the next (10/10 would highly recommend). After a quick trip back to EHS, all of us headed down to The Chester (where we had our Kickoff Celebration – we’ve really come full circle!!!) for one last family dinner. To say we enjoy each other’s company is an understatement – the whole night was filled with laughter and reminiscing on what this summer meant for us and how far we have all come. After dinner and drinks, it was officially time to receive our certificates of completion. One by one, the fabulous MSBA Staff called each of us up to officially become graduates and celebrate our accomplishments, while Lorne simultaneously aired out our dirty laundry with the annual MSBA “roast” (Zack would agree that they dug up some great content). From Sawyer’s fake accent to Kaitlin’s one-too-many hook ‘ems, we were reminded with a good laugh of how close we have all gotten in such a short amount of time. Shout out to Brett for (not surprisingly) having his own roast prepared and handing it right back to the staff – never a dull moment. Tonight highlighted the fact that it doesn’t matter how long we’ve known each other, but rather the impact we’ve had on each other in this short time. The inside jokes are endless, and the bond will last forever.

“MSBA is truly a gift that keeps on giving, and although it feels like it now, I know this isn’t the end. The impact that these people and this experience has had on me, both personally and professionally, proves that MSBA will be the catalyst to whatever my next chapter will be.”

Now to the hard part. I have subconsciously dreaded the end of MSBA since the day I got the highly coveted “you’re in” call from Lorne and Bailey back in March. There was never any doubt in my mind that these people would become my family and that this summer would be life-changing. The saying “don’t be sad it’s over, be happy it happened” has never really sat well with me – so much easier said than done, right? But as I struggle to find the positive in leaving, I realize that the happiness this summer has brought me far outweighs any (and all) sadness I feel about it ending. How lucky was I to spend a summer in this city, with these people, doing what I love? There are so many things I’ll miss (like being called one of the 10+ nicknames I garnered over the past eight weeks), but moving on from the summer means I get to sit back and watch everyone use what they’ve learned through MSBA to continue chasing their dreams … how incredible is that? MSBA is truly a gift that keeps on giving, and although it feels like it now, I know this isn’t the end. The impact that these people and this experience has had on me, both personally and professionally, proves that MSBA will be the catalyst to whatever my next chapter will be. Though it feels like I’ve known these people for years, this program is only eight weeks long. 56 days. Yet the friendships are irreplaceable and the growth exponential. We’ve heard it time and time again – sports have a way of bringing people together from all different walks of life. I know everyone I met this summer was put into my life for a reason. MSBA is an absolute dream for any aspiring sports professional, and if you’re one of the lucky 25 people to be given the opportunity, don’t think twice. You will learn more in one summer than others will learn in years, and these 56 days will be the most exhausting, yet rewarding, of your life.

I am a different person coming out of MSBA than I was going in – more ready now than ever to follow through on the dreams I had as a little girl who fell in love with everything sports. A million thanks to my parents for the unwavering support – I hope one day I can make you as proud as I am to be your daughter. To Lorne, Bailey, David, my mentors, and the 24 phenomenal humans that came along with me on this journey, thank you for being the best coaches and teammates, and for making this summer everything I had hoped for and so much more. I love you all and miss you already!

Derek Jeter sums up my parting feelings quite well in his Thank You, New York TPT article: “I wouldn’t be the person I am today without you. Because the truth is, no matter where you go in the world, when a place feels like home, as New York does to me, you never really leave. It will always be with you.”
Until next time, New York. Thanks for the summer of a lifetime.