April 30, 2013

RITTER | The Highlight Reel

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For someone who usually has no trouble coming up with something to say, I’m finding myself at a loss for words as I sit here in Apollo’s (attempting) to write my last column. My time at The Sun has been a life-defining experience and I am struggling to find the words to convey the myriad of emotions I’m feeling.Therefore, I have decided to do a Top-10 highlight reel rather than a farewell column. There is something too final about saying goodbye, and frankly, I’m not ready to close my chapter with The Sun just yet. So, without further introduction:

1) “Men’s Tennis Comes Back Strong to Kick Off Spring Play”Five semesters ago, I wrote my first bylined article for The Sun. The fact that it took me over three days, two nerve-racking interviews and one good cry to reach the formidable 465-word piece is beside the point. Looking back on the story, it wasn’t anything special — just your average recap of the men’s tennis team’s winter schedule. However, to me, it was the beginning of a two-year love affair with sports journalism, Cornell Athletics and The Sun.

2) Men’s Soccer 2011-12I was privileged enough to cover the men’s soccer team for the past two seasons. I have been witness to heartbreaking losses, triumphant victories and history being made as the 2012 team brought home the Ivy League title. For the girl who didn’t know the rules of the game two years ago to the girl who could probably diagram different play formations now, I think I’ve come a long way —and caught the soccer bug in the meantime.

3) Wrestling NCAAs in PhiladelphiaIn March 2011, I had the chance to cover the wrestling team when it went to the NCAA Tournament in Philadelphia. It was my first time attending a meet for Cornell outside of the cozy Friedman Center, and it was overwhelming to say the least. It was probably one of the best experiences I’ve had at the Sun. I also got to watch Kyle Dake wrestle on the center mat from press row. So epic.

4) Visiting the Boat HouseBack when I first started writing for The Sun, I volunteered to write about the men’s heavyweight and lightweight rowing teams. I had no clue what rowing entailed or what an erg machine was; however, after a 7 a.m. trip to the Cornell Boat House, where heavyweight head coach Todd Kennett ’91 took me out on the launch (in the rain no less) and explained everything, I have a newfound understanding and appreciation for the sport. Rowers are some of the most underrated athletes at Cornell (#nopromo).

5) The 2011 Harvard GameIf you haven’t witnessed Harvard come to Lynah before, you are missing out. I’ve only seen it once, but it was memorable. I saw one man blow up a sex doll and throw it on the ice, and another man asked me if he could show me the barracuda in his pants — which, surprisingly was not an innuendo, but actually a three foot long, semi-frozen dead fish.

6) Sports SupplementsCreating the various extra supplements we produce each semester is an experience. The first one I was responsible for was the 2011 Winter Supplement and it featured the men’s swimming team and wrestler Kyle Dake on the covers. While supplements take forever to painstakingly coordinate, they represent a great accomplishment when they are complete. The special cover shoots are an added bonus, as the most recent football one only furthered my crush on Jeff Mathews — cat’s outta the bag on that one!

7) Andy NoelOne of the best parts of being Sports Editor for the 130th Editorial Board was having biweekly meetings with Athletics Director Andy Noel. If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Andy, then you are missing out. I have had so much fun getting to know him over the past year, talking about which teams are on the hunt for titles and sharing in our mutual love for everything related to Cornell sports.

8) Interviewing AlumniOne of my favorite parts of writing for Sports has been my ability to talk to alumni. I was lucky enough to be able to interview basketball players Jon Jaques ’10, Jeff Foote ’10 and Louis Dale ’10 from the Sweet 16 Team and hockey players Ben Scrivens ’10 and Colin Greening ’10. Whether it was writing down Foote’s interview on a napkin or talking to Scrivens about videogames, I love being able to tell the stories and say “I know him” when I see these players on the big screen.

9) Negative FeedbackI would be a naive journalist to think that I wouldn’t step on a few toes somewhere along the way. One comment in particular has stood out and stayed with me. In “Sports 101: A Girl’s Guide to the Game,” unidentified sexxxychik12 commented that the column was “insulting to women everywhere.” A semi-crippling remark at the time, I was furious, frustrated and mostly embarrassed. However, in retrospect, it was a building moment. I came to the hard realization that not everyone will love your work, so you have to pick yourself up by your laces and get over it. My haters are my motivators.

10) Unhappy CoachesWe’ve all heard the saying, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” This can also apply to coaches. Over two years, I’ve met my share of coaches who felt that The Sun did not accurately cover the success of their teams. To those of you who feel that way, I apologize. Please don’t send angry letters to the next Board. We try our best, just as much as you and your players do.

I have enough memories from my time at The Sun to write a book, but those are for another day and another column. I don’t know what the next chapter will hold in store for me, but I’m excited to graduate and find out. I have a feeling my love affair with The Sun isn’t over just yet, it’s only just beginning and I’m entering Phase 2. So it goes.

Original Author: Lauren Ritter