Standing Room Only
It’s times like these, I can’t help but get sentimental.
When your newly appointed editor tells you its your final column, it makes you want to write something meaningful, something lasting, something that makes the reader keel over in wonderment.
Then you realize that you’re not as good as you think you are.
So, while I’m not going to astound you with the philosophical ramblings you might be expecting, I do want to express the full spectrum of sports experiences that I’ve had spending the last four years here in St. Louis.
If you weren’t a sports fan before entering this city, there’s a good chance you’ll walk away with a new-found source of competitive spirit… and your typical Kurt Warner/Jim Edmonds idolizing.
Luckily for me, it seems as though I’ve been following sports from the time I was in the womb. Growing up in Texas, I lived, breathed, and worshiped football. Playing two-hand-touch outside after watching an episode of “Thundercats,” was a normal routine on a summer’s day.
As I grew older, and my body seemed to get longer rather than wider, it looked like a long-shot that I would become an NFL star. I turned to basketball, where Magic, Larry and Michael dominated my attention. It also helped that Houston won a couple of championships in the early 90′s.
Coming to this school, in a city with no NBA team and a vastly mediocre NFL franchise, I figured my sports fanaticism might make way for more practical pastimes, such as chemistry recitation and drinking.
While the latter has held its own, I soon found that sports would not only be big here, it would become more of a part of my life than I could have possibly imagined… in fact, it would be hard to imagine getting a similar experience elsewhere.
I always knew the Mark McGwire phenomenon was big, but witnessing it first-hand was something else altogether. I’d always neglected baseball in a way that you’d treat that little-known friend that you always seem to see at every social gathering. You know he’s there, you’ll talk with him, but you’ll never really get to know him.
This city has almost caused a complete role-reversal.
The simple fact that my last two columns were solely about baseball has given me a clue as to just how far this sport has penetrated my psyche. While my Rockets were fighting for their playoff lives, I was more concerned about a meaningless first-week game between the Astros and the Reds. When this city lives and dies with every Cardinals victory or defeat, I notice it… it makes me appreciate the place even more.
This school has also done a great job of bringing out the athlete inside me, if I can actually say that with a straight face. From flag-football, to basketball, to the 3-point shootout, to the trivia challenge, to softball, IM sports have played as big a part of my WU experience as has my major.
From making sure your entire team woke up from their late night benders at the frats, to recruiting kids to play right before the games so that you wouldn’t have to forfeit, my first three years in IM were less than productive, but definitely memorable.
This year, I got a chance to play on a championship softball team, a finalist basketball team, and still managed to win the trivia contest (hey, a t-shirt is a t-shirt). Winning made the experience all the more memorable.
But the most valuable experience I had at this school, sports-wise, was getting a chance to live out my dream job of being a sports journalist. When I was named “Most likely to be Marv Albert” in middle school (this was before his sodomistic tendencies were exposed), I always felt that no matter what career path I was to choose, I’d always hold out a place for this dream.
Being the editor of this sports section has satisfied all the desires I had of covering sports for a living. While medical school awaits next year, the experiences I’ve had following our athletes, seeing them practice, and watching them win are moments that I’ll always cherish.
In the end, this city, this school, this paper… everything… has made me appreciate sports on a whole other level.
I advise you to make the most of it as well.
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