April 25, 2013

NEWCOMB | Say Goodnight, Dick

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For the past two semesters, I have written a column, “Sucks to Suck,” every other Friday. I have covered a wide range of topics from college football to Bob Knight, and I have enjoyed sharing my perspective with my friends, family, as well as complete strangers.Writing this column was not something that I had planned as part of my senior year. As I have previously mentioned, I have been involved with The Sun every semester of my time here at Cornell, but in a completely different capacity: as a designer for the paper.While I was laying out the sports section last semester, I commented on the lack of college football analysis appearing on the back page of this section. I felt that I had an opinion to offer (one that I often chose to offer anyway) and that I would really enjoy the opportunity to share my commentary with the readers of The Sun.This experience has been extremely new to me in every aspect. I have never written content available to anyone beyond a classroom of people, and now my thoughts were being read by thousands of strangers. I received feedback (positive and otherwise) on my pieces, and worked to clearly articulate a point of view in each article.I’m not going to lie; sometimes the criticism was hard to hear. I’m not a seasoned journalist, nor do I strive to make it in this industry as a part of my future. On a column that I wrote last semester about my family’s undying love of Northwestern football, someone commented “No one cares …” which is a perfectly fine and valid sentiment for that reader to feel.Of course my family’s football obsession has little to no effect on your life. I would simply choose to argue that if you read my column you chose to care a little bit. However, anonymous dislike of my opinions was new territory.Despite that, after last semester I decided to carry my column through my gra****ion (sorry, won’t write it down) as a way of staying involved with The Sun now that my time as Design Editor has ended. It is, however, important to recognize that this is not a stepping stone for any journalism ambitions that I hold for my future. After next month, I will hold a degree in engineering, and will no longer have an outlet for my snarky opinion as it relates to sports.Thus, my title will return to crazy sports fan, as it has been my whole life.At a younger age, it wasn’t a “cool” thing to like sports and to be a girl and, just to clarify, I was a super uncool middle schooler. I often felt that I needed to know the most about the latest games or trades to even consider joining in on a conversation about that week’s latest sports events. I became competitive about competitive sports.Beyond my insatiable quest for sports knowledge, I had always played sports. I never took an interest in more artistic forms of expression, and tried nearly every sport imaginable as I was growing up. The only sport I never played in an organized fashion was softball. Sadly, this is the sport of choice for my future employer’s summer league, so maybe I will learn to love it.Don’t think that because I played a lot of sports that I was talented in each and every one, because that is most definitely not the case. I was bad at a good number of them, but I still loved them.I would like to think that my lifelong involvement in sports has taught me a lot about determination and perseverance, and that through the many, many, many times that I have failed, I have learned how to better succeed. Both as a fan, and as an athlete, this conviction has been a theme of my relationship with sports.I want to take this final column to say some thank yous. The first is to my extended Northwestern family. Through my family’s (insane) commitment to Northwestern Athletics, I have gained aunts, uncles and grandparents that have shaped my life in immeasurable ways. I am so blessed to have had that influence in my life.Super special shout out to Ivan Zilka, who is 93 years young and has been attending Northwestern football games for decades (and also graduated from Northwestern when tuition was $150). He is a true life champion, and one of my personal role models.Finally, my parents. My father, for whom sports passion knows no bounds, has pushed me to create my own potential and live up to it in a way that has been an extraordinary lesson that I will carry with me always.My mother has always been my biggest fan. The amount of time that you have dedicated to watching me try my hand at numerous sports throughout the years is not overlooked, and I truly appreciate it more than I could say.I could not be more excited to say that I am returning home to Chicago after I leave Cornell to start a new chapter in my (adult?) life. This fall, I’ll be back in Section 230 at Ryan Field cheering on the Northwestern Wildcats if you want to come find me (or join me).The title of this column is a phrase often said by one of these aforementioned Northwestern family members, and is used when a football game is over, and so, too, is “Sucks to Suck.”

Original Author: Annie Newcomb

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