Grateful for the opportunities

Duke's blowout loss at the Dean Dome wasn't a game to remember for the Blue Devil faithful, but covering that game in person was an experience I'll remember forever.
Duke's blowout loss at the Dean Dome wasn't a game to remember for the Blue Devil faithful, but covering that game in person was an experience I'll remember forever.

I looked around the empty Dean Dome, trying my best to soak it all in.

I had finished my instant story more than an hour prior, but I wasn’t ready to leave just yet. No, it wasn’t in the front row of a packed Cameron Indoor Stadium. And no, it wasn’t a game Duke fans would care to remember past that night. 

But it was still Duke-UNC. 

Sitting there in the moment, I knew like every other Chronicle sports editor it’d be an experience I remembered for the rest of my life. And I was just trying to stretch that experience out as long as I could. 

It’s been a similar feeling over the last several weeks. As my tenure as sports editor has slowly reached the finish line, I’ve tried my best to soak in every moment and realize how lucky I’ve been over these last 12 months, even if they've not gone according to plan at all.

While reading previous sports editors’ outgoing columns in preparation for writing this one, I couldn’t help but think of the opportunities I was going to, but didn’t, get. No trip to the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis, no courtside seats at the home North Carolina game, no trip to the NCAA tournament (the latter one not because of COVID-19—Duke just didn’t make it), etc.

But then I remembered the one opportunity I did get: My job over the past year has been to cover Duke sports.

I still remember making my own weekly college football “magazines” as a kid, typing up 10+ pages of stories and predictions on my mom’s laptop and printing it out for keepsake. I did this for absolutely no reason other than the pride I felt carrying the “magazine” around for the next few days.

I also remember walking into the Duke Athletics offices right before school started my freshman year to interview for a student assistant role in the Sports Information department. I had already planned to join The Chronicle, but my goal was to become as immersed in Duke’s sports scene as possible, and I figured this was yet another way to do it (I was told during the interview that working for Duke Athletics and writing for The Chronicle’s sports section was a conflict of interest, something that confused me at the time but I now have a much better understanding of).

What I also didn’t realize at the time was that becoming sports editor of The Chronicle would allow me to combine this passion for telling sports stories with my goal of becoming immersed in the world of Duke athletics. Yes, I wrote for this department for two years prior to my term as sports editor and still have a year to go now, but I quickly realized there’s something different about editing every article for every sport on campus.

My appreciation for The Chronicle only got stronger as my tenure as sports editor continued.

When bored, I often find myself scrolling through the archives of The Chronicle’s website and print issues, finding articles and covers that documented significant moments in Duke, or even Chronicle, history (for example, the early days of when Chronicle Sports joined Twitter). I was enamored by the documenting of all these historic events in one place, and even more enamored by the fact that, one day, someone might be scrolling through the archives and find some of my articles.

It’s these kinds of discoveries that helped me realize that The Chronicle really is bigger than all of us, and I couldn’t be prouder to say I’ve been a small part in its long history.

There are other parts of my time as sports editor I’ve cherished as well.

Even without the in-person component, our department meetings are always a fun time. Our GroupMe is even better. And the opportunities I’ve had to actually spend time with people in 301 Flowers have been even better than that.

I’ve also been able to write some of my proudest stories as well as conduct some of my coolest interviews, from talking to Krzyzewskiville’s first tenter last summer to watching Nolan Smith take the next step in his coaching career just this past week.

So yeah, there weren’t any cross-country trips or packed Cameron Indoor Stadium crowds. But again, I got to spend the last 12 months covering Duke sports.

There’s no better opportunity than that.

Evan Kolin is a Trinity junior. He served as sports editor of The Chronicle’s 116th volume.


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