May 9, 2016

SHATZMAN | Thanks for the Memories

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Thus begins my final column for The Cornell Daily Sun. It’s the last hurrah. Game seven. The finale. He shoots, he scores. They’ll be telling their grandkids about this one.

I’m only kidding. I began writing a weekly column in the fall of 2013, my first semester at Cornell. I was a transfer-sophomore who thought ordering pizza bagels at CTB after midnight was badass. Now a senior, I know that to be fact.

I don’t recall how the “Calling the Shatz” moniker came about. I think my parents may have suggested it. My last name is pronounced “shots-man,” but all of my friends back home call me “Shatz” (rhymes with cats), and once I started saying “Shatz-man,” it became a habit that I couldn’t kick. So “Calling the Shatz” is the true pronunciation of my name, and when I see it in the paper I am reminded that I constantly mispronounce my own last name.

And so it goes…

The late Kurt Vonnegut ’44 wrote for this very paper in the early 1940’s. I skimmed through The Sun’s archives the other day and found some of his work. Man, he was special: articulate, smart, witty, funny. He had it all, years before the world outside of Cornell would grow to adore him. I take pride in continuing a tradition that once included Kurt Vonnegut. Among my favorite passages of his is the following:

“Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you’ve got a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’”

Over the last three years, I have tried to write compelling pieces, often on athletes who I feel are unfairly scrutinized by the media — people from Richard Sherman to Josh Gordon, Hassan Whiteside to DeMarcus Cousins. I have enjoyed digging for statistics to back my arguments. I have analyzed executives, coaches, teams, and so on. I’ve been right sometimes and wrong a lot. That’s life.

I’m not going to go Cuba Gooding Jr. ’97 Oscars here, but I want to acknowledge The Sun staff — former and current — for all that they do. Haley, Scott, Anna, Adam, Joon and all others: I appreciate you. To anyone who read any piece of mine: thank you.

A professor once told me that I received a grade on an essay because he followed my column and felt that I was capable of better. It feels good when people take interest in your work. I have learned plenty during my time at Cornell. It’s hard not to worry about what has yet to occur. There will be highs and there will be lows. Be kind to all. Things will work out.