Four years ago, I walked into a departmental dinner during Welcome Week. I hadn’t taken a college class yet, but I was asked to help out writing sports for the Optimist.
I had done a little sports writing for my high school newspaper, but I really had no idea what I was doing. I was just thankful for the opportunity to begin doing something I loved.
I really looked up to the sports editor at the time, Grant Abston, and thought that he had the coolest job ever. He got to write whatever stories he wanted, and got to choose who wrote everything else. He seemed to be able to do it all, as I struggled issue after issue just to get 350 words and two interviews for my stories.
Now here I am, writing my final column as sports director of the JMC/Network. What I didn’t realize as a freshman, but now know, is that you can’t do this job by yourself. It’s impossible.
As I look back and remember my four years writing for The Optimist, I won’t remember the awards earned, or the perks I received. I will remember every person who worked with me, who showed me how to write a captivating story about a blowout loss or about how to ask the right questions in an interview.
There have been many times I have wanted to quit. To just not write a story for an issue or make up quotes for my story, but there have always been people beside me, encouraging me to not give up, and put my best into what I write.
I thought once I got to the top, everything was going to be easy. Why wouldn’t it be? You get to hand pick the sports you want to cover, and delegate responsibility to everyone else around you.
This year, however, is when I have needed help the most. Nothing can prepare you to be the boss, and I wasn’t prepared. I have had to learn on the fly with what has to be the most patient sports staff ever assembled.
It is because of the rest of my sports staff that this year has been a success.
I can honestly say that I have loved writing sports for The Optimist. It hasn’t always been easy or been fun, but, because of the people that I have had the opportunity to work with, it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
So, to Taylor, Edward, Mandy, Natalie, Matt and everyone else who helped with sports this year, I express my utmost thanks and appreciation. This year would not have been a success without each one of your contributions. It has been an absolute joy to work with you guys.
May the sports be with you.