This is it—my final installment. It’s been quite a run. My journalism career began with a riveting game story of the women’s soccer team’s trip to Ohio State, and from there I progressed slowly but surely and dabbled in just about every sport Duke has to offer.
But all the while there was one goal in mind. I never set out to become a journalist—I wanted to be a columnist. In the end I became both. Four years later, it’s time to hang ‘em up and go pro in something other than journalism. This is my Face Time.
Those of you who know me or have read my column regularly know that I have a strong affinity for all things Colorado. There’s no particular reason, other than the fact that Colorado is home and when I came to Duke my high school principal told me to never forget where I came from. Don’t worry Mr. Peterson, I flaunt it.
One of the great things about growing up in Colorado as a budding sports fan was having the privilege to read the work of Woody Paige before any of you East Coasters had ever heard of him. Before Around the Horn, before Cold Pizza, before 1st and 10, Woody was just a columnist for the Denver Post.
As long as I can remember, I have read every one of his columns while I eat breakfast. He never walks the line, just says what needs to be said.
And most of the time it’s the way he says it that makes reading Woody enjoyable. Whether satirical, sarcastic, or scathing, every one of his columns is distinctly Woody.
I never tried to be Woody—except for my final project for AP English five years ago, in which I attempted to imitate the Colorado icon—but I hope you got to know me a little bit this year through this column. From field hockey to men’s basketball and everything in between, I really enjoyed the privilege of writing in this space every two weeks. I like to think that I developed a small following—I was pleasantly surprised at where some of the emails and facebook messages came from—and I hope that I was able to both inform and entertain.
Regardless, writing this column was something that I wanted to do for me, and sometimes that’s all that counts. The football coach at my high school once proudly told our strength class, “I don’t tell jokes to make other people laugh, I tell ‘em so I can laugh,” after one of his many attempts at humor was met with crickets. I don’t know if that line was an Ed Stevens original, but coach also declared me to be the world record holder in the one-mile run so there is no doubt he is a reliable source. My athletic abilities aside, Duke was undoubtedly the best environment for me to scratch this journalistic itch. Why? Duke is synonymous with winning.
I’ll be real honest with you, I was one of those kids who listed ‘basketball’ as the main reason why I applied to school here. I haven’t played organized basketball since third grade, but if it wasn’t for basketball I probably would not have considered Duke at all.
Now, I didn’t come here just because of basketball. But Coach K grabbed my attention, and the campus pulled me in. This place breeds winners, in basketball, lacrosse, tennis, soccer, biology, chemistry, mechanical engineering, psychology, economics, civil engineering and just about any other field. I just wanted to be a part of it.
It’s no coincidence that the Blue Devils did a lot of winning on the field and on the court during my four years here—not that I had anything to do with it. After this weekend, Duke teams have won 12 ACC titles and three national championships during my time here. That’s pretty good, I guess.
Yet, I covered zero of those, for the same reason why my one year stint in Woody’s shoes isn’t going to last any longer—I have more fun as a fan. I loved having the opportunity to get to know all the teams here, and getting enhanced access that the average fan doesn’t. But my most memorable experiences at Duke weren’t on press row. They were driving to Winston-Salem or Chapel Hill to watch a women’s soccer game, pleading our case to the mysterious yellow box from the front row at Wallace Wade, and jumping from the upper level of Cameron to celebrate a national championship.
The Chronicle gave me a special connection to those teams that I will be eternally grateful for. Though my time as a columnist is over, rest assured that as a fan I’m just entering my prime.