I’m going to keep things light in this final column. This is mainly because I’m still in denial that I’m graduating, but also because I have very little to say. I’ve written almost 150 print articles and over 200 blog posts while at The Chronicle, and, well, there’s not much left to write about.
So here’s a top-five list of some of my favorite events I’ve worked during my four years here:
5- Krispy Kreme Challenge, Feb. 7, 2009
As should be expected, freshmen tend not to get the most glamorous assignments when they begin writing. I was no exception. In a moment of, let’s call it hazing, sports editor Ben Cohen had me run N.C. State’s Krispy Kreme Challenge, a four-mile race around Raleigh in which the second and third miles are interrupted by eating a dozen doughnuts. I went into this with something less than full enthusiasm, completely skipping a training regimen I had crafted with track-and-field coach Jan Ogilvie (who called my run “the most ludicrous thing” she’d ever seen).
Long story short: My run was unspectacular; my vomiting in front of 100 people was sublime.
4- Duke-North Carolina, Feb. 9, 2011
Being sports editor carries with it one undeniable perk—front-row seats to the best rivalry in sports. I got to see a beaut of a game from that great vantage point last year. Nolan Smith was unstoppable, dropping a career-high 34 points and prompting us to run “YESSIR!” as the headline, in honor of his favorite Twitter saying. My favorite front page ever.
3- Duke Lacrosse National Championship, May 30, 2010
I grew up in Eastern North Carolina, which is not exactly a lacrosse hotbed, to say the least. In fact, when I came to this school, my experience with lacrosse was limited mostly to the Ultimate Lax Bro’s Brantford Winstonworth. But I began to be drawn to the sport, going to games sophomore year and covering the national championship in Baltimore in May. It was terrific.
Duke’s semifinal win over Virginia will go down as one of the best games I’ve ever seen in person, in any sport. The two teams went back-and-forth, and the contest ended with a whip-fast Ned Crotty-to-Max Quinzani connection for the win with 12 seconds left.
Then, there was the national championship, with the Blue Devils going up against a goalie in Scott Rodgers who seemed to be the size of Ivan Drago. After a tough defensive battle, Duke and Notre Dame went to overtime, where the Blue Devils won on a crazy shot off the faceoff by CJ Costabile. How often do you get to see an overtime goal so good the midfielder said afterward, “To actually have [that shot] come through, it’s fairy-tale stuff”?
At the time, there was a lot of history associated with the Duke lacrosse program not worth discussing again. Those games, though, transcended the off-the-field matters.
2- Duke Basketball National Championship, April 5, 2010
It was great, it was a whirlwind. I’ll never forget the boom of the confetti guns, the mad stampede right in front of me of the Duke bench onto center court and the later realization, while writing my story, that my right leg had been shaking for over an hour.
In all honesty, though, I didn’t really fully appreciate this until about a few months afterward, just because the adrenaline rush and the all-nighter I pulled were so draining. That appreciation came when I was shopping for books at the University Store in August of my junior year, and I looked up at the checkout, saw tape of the game, and muttered, “Oh s**t, there I am.”
1- 2009 ACC Baseball Championship and Duke win over UNC-Greensboro, Dec. 29, 2010
I picked these two games because I got to experience them with my dad, without whom I would not be the sports fan I am today.
In 2009, I was assigned to cover the ACC Baseball Tournament for Towerview Magazine. I was told to write from the perspective of a fan, so I brought my dad, because I figured that’s what a son should do at a baseball game. Duke lost, but it still felt special, being able to do what I loved with my dad by my side.
A year later, I covered Duke’s blowout win over UNC-Greensboro, the team head coach Mike Krzyzewski beat to pass Dean Smith on the all-time wins chart. It was over winter break, and since I had no one to go with (because everyone at this school is from the tri-state area), I convinced Dad to get a ticket to the game.
Through, uh, magic, Dad found an unoccupied seat on the periphery of press row before the game. I cannot confirm this, but I heard reports that he excitedly talked about it to friends and family and strangers for days afterward—I can only say that I saw him with a broad smile on his face for most of the game.
Now, I’m growing up. I won’t be able to go to many games with him anymore. We’ll have to do our over-the-phone postgame breakdowns with many more miles separating us. It sucks. But I guess that’s life.
Still, I know I’ve have my ticket stubs/press passes from our games together. And I know he does too.
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