While you’re at college, a lot of really strange things will probably happen to you. Most will probably be inconsequential, like watching a crazy woman get arrested for yelling and subsequently throwing books in Perkins, or learning to solve the Rubik’s Cube in fewer than 30 seconds. Of course, many others will change your college life in drastic and sometimes unfortunate ways. Examples of these include becoming friends with the only other person on campus who rides BMX (good), or taking accelerated general chemistry with Professor Toone (bad).
A particular example of one strange event in my college career is my becoming, through an entirely unfortunate series of events, the sports photography editor at The Chronicle. Sometimes the wrong person gets appointed to the wrong position here at the paper, and that might just be the case this time around. The three biggest responsibilities of this job are taking pictures of sports, training other people to take pictures of sports and being creepy at women’s sporting events. I like to think I am at least decent at these things; certainly the people I have trained have gotten some great photographs.
The reason I am wrong for this position is because I have to choose the weekly Sportswrap photograph for Monday editions of The Chronicle. This cover of the sports section has the ubiquitous, made-up word “SPORTSWRAP” across the top and features a full-page picture, usually of basketball or football (I pushed to get club ping-pong all year, but turns out we don’t cover that). Picking this photo in and of itself is not a bad thing, but I got the idea in my head that it would actually make sense to have a Sportswrap that was horizontal. Imagine it now, the words running sideways along the edge of the page with the picture running down the page. To actually see it, people would have to rotate their newspapers 90 degrees (orπpi/2 radians for all the math-inclined out there).
The sports editor gets the last say as far as the Sportswrap cover is concerned. Try as I might, he never liked any of my ideas for a horizontal Sportswrap and my dream was never realized. To his credit, he did say he was open to the idea as long as I could get a quality photograph. (Basketball is almost never horizontal; think about it: 7-foot men jumping as high as they possibly can.) Many other staff members told me the idea was crazy. No one would understand why it wasn’t the usual direction, they said. They were probably right, but that is exactly why I thought it was such a great idea. Maybe I’m just strange; I like to think I’m just ahead of my time, although I know that is not the case.
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There are quite a few things I regret from college, and I think that is a normal feeling about this time in one’s life. Don’t get me wrong, there are many more things that I do not regret, but the one regret that is at the front of my mind when I think about college (because I can remember it), is my not making the horizontal Sportswrap happen. I feel that I could have tried a little harder and actually made my little, insignificant dream come true. Then again, maybe not. Maybe my sports editor would have denied my wish, regardless of the quality of the horizontal photographs I got. Perhaps the point is moot, as it’s the end of the year and it still hasn’t happened.
The horizontal Sportswrap is completely insignificant in the big picture of things, and until I become the next president of the United States, CEO of AIG or Mike Posner, I probably won’t be doing much of significance in the future. But that isn’t what’s important. What is important is to realize your goals, regardless of how insignificant they are. Fancy that cute girl in your chemistry class (or Tailgate, either will do)? Go for it! Want your group of New York friends to go to the Daytona 500 with you? Make it happen. It’ll be worth it in the end, and even if you fail, at least you can say you tried relatively hard for a while, had a few beers, then gave up trying.
Of course, none of you really needs this message. You are all high-falutin’ Duke students with aspirations of curing cancer and solving the conflict between Israel and Palestine. All I can do is solve the stupid Rubik’s Cube.
Ian Soileau is a Trinity Senior. He is the sports photography editor of The Chronicle.