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Breaking up is hard to do

Dear readers, it's not you-it's me.

I know, I know. I see that look in your eyes (is that a tear?): That's the line everyone uses when they're about to dump you. And they never, ever mean it.

But I do.

Look, it's really not that hard to figure. I'm old, cynical and graduating.

And you? You are young, hopeful and still dewy-eyed with the hope of seeing a basketball national title in your time here. Or at least a Duke win over UNC in Cameron.

We're just in different places in our lives, and it's time for me to do the responsible thing and end our little tryst.

I apologize in advance for writing and running like this, but all I can do for the both of us now is to say my piece, dazzle you with my wit and charm one last time and give you a proper goodbye-something to remember me by, if you will.

It won't be nearly enough, but it'll have to do.

The first thing I need you to know is how much I've loved our four years together. It's been swell. From a buzzer-beater in Cameron my sophomore year to exchanging e-mails with Reggie Love, getting a voicemail from Steve Spurrier and challenging Brian Zoubek to a game of Pop-A-Shot this year, you've been there with me every step of the way.

But I have a confession to make.

In our time together, I haven't been exclusive with you. Whoops.

The words you see on these pages every day aren't just mine. They are a product of one of the most fantastic staffs in college journalism-and of the writers and editors who came before me-and I would be nowhere without the people who make this section go everyday. To that end, I believe some thank-yous are in order.

To Mike Van Pelt and Greg Beaton, the sports editors who preceded me, thank you for teaching me everything I know about journalism and about being an editor. I forever will be grateful for your faith in my talents and the examples you set.

To Ben Cohen, Gabe Starosta and a rising-sophomore-to-be-named-later, the editors to follow me, I hope I've helped in some way to make you who you are, and I'm confident I'm leaving this space in good hands.

To the non-editor sports folk-you know who you are-you were the best staff a girl could ask for. Most of the time. When you weren't throwing things at each other. Or ditching my meetings.

More than The Chronicle, though, my columns were the product of four years of life at Duke and 22 years of life as Meredith Shiner. And while both have had their ups and downs, neither has turned out to be too shabby.

So thank you to my parents, who, in addition to birthing me and putting up with me on a daily basis, paid a pretty penny to send me to Duke and gave me the opportunity of a lifetime.

Thank you to my grandmother, who has printed all the articles I've ever written in The Chronicle and filed them away. I'm sorry for being so prolific.

Thank you to the 2005 World Champion Chicago White Sox, who gave me the impetus as a freshman to stand up to a bunch of boys from New York and New Jersey who thought they were infinitely superior in every way to everyone else. Don't stop believin'.

Thank you to my friends who tented with me freshman year for allowing me to install a "Krzyzewskiville Bedtime Stories" series, highlighted by my dramatic reading of the Wikipedia page for R. Kelly's epic Hip Hopera, "Trapped in the Closet." (This should be done in every tent, every year, in perpetuity, by the way).

Thank you to Greg Paulus for always saying hello to me when I saw you on the quad and making my friends think I was infinitely cooler than I actually am. Although the Street Cred effect for me was temporary, the memory of the thoughtfulness is not.

And thank you to Coach K for habitually calling me out in press conferences and even once declaring in front of a room full of reporters, "It's OK [Meredith], you can be whoever you are-I'm cool with that." Again, this helped add to my practically non-existent Street Cred and boosted me to 15-minute-celebrity status at Madison Square Garden back in February. And I'm cool with that.

Finally, thank you, readers. I can't even count the number of times total strangers have come up to me at restaurants and bars, on the plaza or in the library and told me how much they enjoyed my columns. It means more to me than you will ever know.

To paraphrase the great Casey McCall, co-anchor of Aaron Sorkin's fictional "Sports Night": If you've had half as much fun reading this column as I've had writing it, well, then I've had twice as much fun writing this column as you've had reading it.

I haven't just had fun, though. I've had the time of my life.

And I'll miss you terribly.

Just don't call me again, OK?


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