“Zain said that you were interested in a columnist position... Is that correct?”
On May 9, 2016, I received a direct message through Twitter from then Indiana Daily Student Sports editor Jordan Guskey that would unknowingly change my life.
I had written for the IDS before this DM on-and-off during my last four years at IU. I started with a story about a roller derby team, interviewed Kyle Schwarber and became the women’s tennis beat writer weeks into my freshman year.
Then I went off the grid, IDS-wise.
I joined the IU Athletics Department as a social media and photography intern and had to leave the sports desk in order to start. Eventually, I re-entered the fold as the Weekend editor and designer for the Opinion section and was finally given the chance this school year to write about sports as the national sports columnist with free reign: the best type of “reign,” over “Purple Rain” and the reins for horses. I took the position Guskey and I talked about and then chaos ensued.
The first words I wrote for the national column were, “Sports are stupid,” a sentiment I have echoed ad nauseum to this very day. I immediately, for better or for worse, found my voice: one consisting of the first person, inane puns and a pop culture lexicon that started with “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” and ended with “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.”
Ultimately, mistakes were made by those in charge, a common occurrence when I am involved, and I became the IU men’s basketball columnists. I somehow finagled my way into perhaps the most popular beat of the IDS.
Accompanying me was a strong sense that I was a fraud, a satchel of jokes and an intense desire not to screw up.
As my senior year reaches its fitful conclusion and my brain recovers from the brain cell damage that is required for celebrating the Little 500, I can’t help but get a bit emotional.
I would not be who I am without the IDS. For a time, I was afraid to write and put my opinions into the public stratosphere. Putting yourself out there in person is hard. To do it with words is petrifying.
Days after I accepted the position as national sports columnist, I woke up in a panic and thought that I would fail magnificently. The same exact feeling, to the umpteenth degree, occurred after the IU basketball gig was finalized.
I’d like to think I did okay, but even if I didn’t, and I just haven’t seen more emails calling me a “nobody ass,” at least I tried.
“Sports are stupid.”
The fact that we care about who won a particular game or what statistics a random player put up will always strike me as the most absurd thing we do as a civilization, and we do quite a few absurd things.
With that said, sports and the IDS have fueled my college career just like how coffee fuels the students in Wells Library. To deny that would be a shame.
Through all of the words that I’ve written and odd anecdotes I’ve told, one thing has remained the same. “Sports are stupid.”
That’s what makes them great.
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