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I love all of Duke's sports and learned from them

Tim Visutipol writes that he loved covering sports such as women’s soccer because they embody what college athletics is all about.
Tim Visutipol writes that he loved covering sports such as women’s soccer because they embody what college athletics is all about.

When people think of Duke sports, the thought of basketball and Cameron Indoor Stadium generally comes up. If that’s not the first thought, then it’s probably football, especially in the early fall. But people may not know that there are 26 different teams representing the Blue Devils in sports ranging from volleyball to field hockey to wrestling.

But writing for The Chronicle, that’s something I have gotten to know. I’ve covered the field hockey team at Jack Katz Stadium on East Campus, and I’ve spent time sitting in both the Ambler Stadium and Sheffield Center reporting on both tennis teams.

But most of my time writing for The Chronicle has been spent at Koskinen Stadium, following the women’s soccer team as they went from unranked in the preseason to the 2011 national championship game and as they tried to repeat that feat the following year.

It was from this experience that I learned that there are many athletes at the Division I level who work as hard, if not harder, than your favorite stars on the hardwood or on the football field.

And I’m not alone in having this sentiment. Even Deshaun Thomas, the Ohio State forward who led the Big Ten in scoring this season, tried to shine a spotlight on the non-revenue Buckeye athletes. After Ohio State lost in the NCAA Tournament to Wichita State, Thomas wrote a letter to the Buckeyes’student newspaper, The Lantern.

In his letter, he wrote that he wishes “all athletes could receive the attention that our football and basketball teams get.”

Amidst all the talk about the various NCAA scandals, it is these teams that, in my opinion, truly embody the NCAA’s concept of student-athletes. In no way are the fencers who sit in a bus for 12 hours to fence in Boston, the swimmers who wake up at daybreak to train, or the soccer players flying coach across the country, doing this for anything but personal and school pride.

Seeing their successes, I gained a new perspective on my Duke career. When throughout the season I see the same players training hard on the field, competing and fielding questions from reporters—in addition to working hard in the classroom—it only helped me to realize that I, too, can do more with my time at Duke.

In the same way these sports may not be at all related to what these athletes may be studying or what they hope to do after graduation, I can do things here that may not be directly related to my field of study. I can write for The Chronicle for the fun, the experience and for the other intangible skills.

And what a ride it has been. My experience with Chronicle sports has changed what was merely a passion and interest for sports into something much greater—the knowledge and ability to analyze the game, the nerves to ask the difficult questions and the skill to write and express my opinion clearly. I have rubbed shoulders with current and soon-to-be professionals, both in the press box and on the court, and met many friends. Being a Chronicle sports reporter has been an integral part of my time here at Duke.

With this in mind, I urge all of you to find your own passions while here in Durham. Don’t make your experience here at Duke only with the end in mind. Find your passions and your interests and follow those while you can, even if you may not pursue any of these activities after you graduate. Four years go by really fast.

If you need an example of this in action, get out to Koskinen, to Ambler or to Jack Katz. Follow these teams, get to know them, and appreciate what they do for themselves, for each other and for the University.

They may not be perfect, or the thrilling examples of the games that you may be used to. But they are students, like us, who have made time for something they love.

Tim Visutipol is a Pratt senior and four-year Chronicle writer. He has served as a field hockey, women's soccer and tennis beat writer.


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