March 12, 2004

Red Sox hand Tigers control of sports section

Objectivity has never been easy for me. I'm often swayed by rhetoric and emotional moments, and I love chanting slogans. Based on these two characteristics alone, one would hardly predict that I would be a fan of journalism, much less a member of a newspaper editorial staff.

Thankfully, sports journalism provides a unique outlet in which objectivity is balanced with a certain story telling flare that captures the essence of an athletic contest and often slightly favors the home team.

It has been my pleasure to be biased in favor of the Chicago Maroons for the past four years.

Initially skeptical of Division III, I was delighted to learn just how hard Chicago's athletes work and how exciting a well balanced competition can be. I knew right away that sports journalism was thriving at the University.

Chicago's coaches have always been as accommodating to me as possible, even when they were at their busiest and most intense points in a game or season. Women's soccer coach Amy Reifert and wrestling coach Leo Kocher always had memorable and insightful quotes and were remarkably easy to work with.

I always felt weird barging into a group of players after a win, and I often felt like a hungry vulture when I approached our teams after a loss. Thankfully, everyone I approached understood that I had to write a story, and most were even thankful to be covered at all.

The editorial job has been slightly more difficult. Deciding which stories to run and where to send specific writers wasn't always a simple task. Errors often slipped by, photos were sometimes dated, and coverage was occasionally slanted in a way that earned complaints from athletes, coaches, and even other fans. The stress has been great, but the reward has been worth it.

Writing and editing are worlds apart. While I will be glad to return to the much purer job of repainting games as I watch them, I'll certainly miss the satisfaction of creating a well-done sports page. Late nights in Ida Noyes's basement have become second nature over the past year, and the many writers and editors I met have enriched my experience as a student and fan of organized sports.

The Maroon sports section has a long tradition of being run by fans of "the good guys." Red Sox, White Sox, and Cubs fans have successfully kept the section out of the hands of New Yorkers since time immemorial, and I'm proud to say that I have not ignored this legacy. Sean Ahmed, my successor, is a Michigan native that has rooted for the Cubs and the classy Detroit Tigers all his life. He knows about our anti-Yankee tradition, and he accepts that it is right and good.

It's true; our new editor in chief is indeed a New Yorker, and Sean will just have to learn to accept that, the same way I accepted that my editor in chief roots for the Miami Dolphins.

But most of all, sports editors root for the Maroons, and I hope that all readers, whether they be athletes, coaches, or fans, will recognize our efforts to cover varsity, club, and intramural athletics as closely as possible. Thank you for a wonderful year.