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From the sticks to 301

As some folks who also reside in the hallowed halls of 301 Flowers would say, I’m from the sticks, which means I am naturally slow. Everything I do happens in a deliberate manner and personally, I like it that way—what’s the rush? Needless to say, as the head of the sports department at The Chronicle, that had to change this year.

Now, my rate of speech might not have picked up—my editor can attest to that—but aside from drawing out sentences to the chagrin of my coworkers, everything I have done this year has been with a certain sense of urgency. Even with the stories that needed extra time, I still reported in a way that didn’t allow myself to fall behind. Every day, we put out four to five stories and blogs, sometimes much more, and everything was done on time—for the most part.

And along with this rate of production, we had to push ourselves constantly to maintain our quality. Combine that push for excellence with the race that is covering Duke athletics and you’ll lose your mind.

But lucky for me, I have been surrounded by one of the greatest sections Sports has assembled. My career—and by some extension, my life—began in 301. I was raised by Andrew Beaton, Ashe Mooney, Chris Cusack, Tom Gieryn, Jacob Levitt and Jackie Klauberg as a freshman. Last year I matured under the leadership of Dan Carp and Matt Pun and broke out of my shell thanks to people like Zac Elder. And this year, I finally grew up. It is because of these people—and so many more—that Sports was able to succeed this year.

There is no one story or moment that defines my reporting career or time as an editor, and just three years into what will be a lifelong career, I shouldn’t have one yet. But when I reflect on my time working at The Chronicle, there is one moment that sticks out the most, and unsurprisingly, it took place several weeks ago in Indianapolis.

As soon as the final buzzer sounded, I submitted my game story for the editors back in Durham—Daniel Carp and Amrith Ramkumar—to edit and push out on Facebook and Twitter and sprinted down to the court with my partner-in-crime, Ryan Hoerger. Everyone had to wait for the teams to clear the court—even ACC Commissioner John Swofford couldn’t slip through. After muttering something, he gave a last look at the stubborn security guard perched on the staircase to the court and found another way to join Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski and the national champion Blue Devils on stage.

Once the trophies had been awarded, the guard stepped to the side and I led the flood of reporters onto the court.

Everybody was scrambling for any sort of sound bites they could get. I muscled my way to get my phone close to Grayson Allen’s face as he answered questions for about two minutes. I then made my way over to assistant coach Jon Scheyer for 40 seconds of fluff and 10 seconds of quality sound about Allen.

Next, I found associate head coach Jeff Capel. His legs were being hugged tight by his daughter, who wore the championship net around her neck, and he beamed about the decision to come to Duke and how proud the team—one he had a large part in assembling on the recruiting trail—had made him on their run for a fifth banner.

Then the interviews stopped. Capel and the entire team made their way up to the stage and looked on as “One Shining Moment” played on the stadium’s massive video screens. Quinn Cook had long stopped snarling and bawled like a baby. Coach K clutched his senior close. Allen looked out into the crowd, lost in the moment.

Every sports editor of The Chronicle is lucky—we get to cover some of the nation’s best programs that also happen to produce some of the best storylines. But my year has been exceptional. In the past year, I’ve written about just about everything—a profile of a life as a drug dealer, sexual assault allegations, an exoskeleton that allowed a paralyzed man to walk, a locker room spray-painting incident, a national title run, dismissals and more. I’ve been here for another Duke football bowl game, sat at halfcourt for an instant classic as Tyus Jones lost his mind against North Carolina at Cameron Indoor, talked to Mrs. Krzyzewski for our Coach K 1K Special Edition and found myself on the court in Indianapolis as the Blue Devils cut down the nets.

I still have a year left before I leave 301 for good, but with one like this in the books, it’s hard to not look back and feel lucky. I’ve been rushed for every single one of the past 365 days, but today, finally, this kid from the sticks will get to kick back, open a beer and—like I did on the court in Indianapolis—soak in the moment.

To Ryan Hoerger, Amrith Ramkumar and Brianna Siracuse: thank you. This year would not have been possible without you. To my entire staff: y’all rock.

Nick Martin is a Trinity junior. He served as sports editor for The Chronicle’s 110th volume. He would like to thank his family, friends and girlfriend for their collective support and patience and the Chronicle’s entire staff—past and present—for making him the reporter he is today.

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