When I got on the men’s basketball beat my sophomore year I really didn’t know what to expect.
My writing skills at the time were, admittedly, not great, but I was really interested in covering a basketball team for an entire season.
I remember before the year started my roommate at the time, Ben Rivera, telling me about his freshman friend from Northampton that was going to be on the team starting that season. He tried to tell me that he was going to be the best player in the NEWMAC and the team’s highest scorer. I figured he was just trying to hype up his friend. How could there be that much hype and expectations for a freshman?
Well, that friend ended up being Jake Ross — he proved me wrong.
Covering that season was interesting in so many ways. The team was young and was still trying to figure things out, much like I was in my own little way. They started off the year average, but then came the Amherst game.
I remember sitting up top and probably showing a little bit more emotion than what would be deemed professional through the final minutes. When the final buzzer sounded and I saw everyone rushing the court it was probably the coolest thing I have witnessed as a student reporter at Springfield College.
But then, once that initial feeling wore off, I realized I had a story to write — and not one of my usual recaps either. I had, like, a HUGE story to write.
Everyone in the newspaper office that night probably hated me because it took me forever to write the thing. I wanted it to be perfect. I figured one of the most historic wins in team history needed a story that lived up to the game’s hype.
That team went on to provide more exciting moments like defeating Wheaton in overtime during the NEWMAC tournament, but was eventually defeated in the semifinals by Babson. It was a sad ending, but everyone knew it was just the beginning.
I remember sitting in the back of Shawn McFarland’s car with Sam Leventhal and Vin Gallo and calling dibs on the beat for the following year. We all knew the next year would be exciting.
We were correct.
It seemed like everything that went wrong the season before started to go right for the team. Everyone knew their role, and with that, the level of play increased.
As the team played better, I felt my level of coverage and consistency increase. The team was full of so many interesting characters and the season had a lot of fun subplots. It was just fun to cover on a day to day basis.
The team’s high level of play gave me the opportunity to fly down to Virginia for the National Semifinals and cover their game alongside my good friend, Vin Gallo. It was an experience I’ll never forget.
Although the team lost, that season provided me with the ability to write so many fun and interesting stories that I’ll always cherish.
This season, things didn’t go as planned — and that’s okay. Although the team struggled more than anticipated, their struggles tested me as a journalist. It gave me another opportunity to grow.
So, as weird as it seems, I feel like as the team has grown the last few seasons, so have I.
My first story on the team wasn’t great. It was rudimentary, had spelling errors, awful grammar and it was really short.
Much like that year’s squad, I was young and unpolished, but there was a willingness to get better.
As the games went on I felt myself getting more confident in my writing and got a better grasp of my style. I started to write more creatively as I got more and more comfortable with the process. I felt myself improving.
Covering the men’s basketball team has solidified in my mind that being a beat reporter is what I enjoy doing the most. It’s what I want to do with my career. If I never got on the beat, I don’t know what I I’d be doing right now.
I want to thank coach Charlie Brock for always taking the time to talk to me, even after tough losses. I want to thank Brian Magoffin and Jon Santer for always being there to help me during home games. I’d like to thank Shawn McFarland for letting me get on the beat as a sophomore, and I would like to thanks the men’s basketball team for always, one way or another, being interesting and being a fun group to follow these last few seasons. You’ve provided me with some of my favorite moments as a journalist, moments I’ll always look back on fondly.