The Rocket

Sports editor says “lol, bye”

Justin Kraus, Sports Editor

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Not to be the most cliché person on earth, but it really does feel like yesterday that I rolled out of bed with a text from then-assistant sports editor Cody Nespor asking if I wanted to do an article on the Division II football playoffs. Three years, 10 papers and 128 stories later, it is finally time for me to part ways with the newspaper and people that forever changed my life.

I know these goodbye columns tend to turn into a thank you-fest, but I can’t help it, because a number of people contributed so much to making me the writer, editor and most importantly, person that I am today.

First let’s start at the top, because without these three people, I would have never had a single story published or read by a soul besides myself. Victoria Davis, Amanda Salvia and Heather Donat: the copy/web trifecta that turned my bare-bones-English slop into masterpieces. If I ever win any awards, please re-direct them to the houses of these three amazing women, whose skills as editors is second only to their place as phenomenal people.

The rest of my staffers all made me feel at home (even when I didn’t belong in the office before I was on staff) in a way I never thought possible. I have life-long tremendous friends in “Big Dog” Cody Nespor and “I’m scared of horses (but not really)” Danny DiFabio (even though he’s not a staffer, one-time contributor “Ol” Jack Lindy as well). Adam Zook is somebody who I know I could talk to about anything. A 20-year old with the knowledge and wherewithal of a 60-year old, I know that you are destined for greatness.

To Ryan Barlow, I’m very glad I actually did cover cross country for you in the fall.

While I sadly did not get to interact with the Campus Life crew that often, the powerhouse Megans (Bush and Majercak) were always smiling faces that added to an amazing newsroom-atmosphere. Megan B, I know you will only get even better than you already are running this second right now, and Megan M: have an amazing Semester overseas!

First, although I was never on staff with them, a very special shout out to Becca Dietrich and Kendall Scott. I used your pictures so many times throughout the years, it helps to have a stockpile of images from a duo that won about 345,987 awards. Paris, I honestly will never know how you did it. With what seemed to be a revolving-door of assistant editors, you made it work in an amazing way. You somehow were 6 places at once, and took breathtaking photos of all of them. It didn’t matter if it was Ty Dolla $ign or Tyler Walters, you always captured the moment with absolute perfection. Without your photos, not one sports story would have been complete. I believe you finally have a great assistant in Jack Hopey, I know you two will only up the excellence!

Finally to Eric, you helped me become a much better videographer even if you didn’t know it. You always came through on sports videos, and that only helped me better myself. Again, you added personality to the sports section that nobody else ever could have. With you as EIC next year, things are only going to get better.

Tom, we all know you will be wildly successful, thanks for always nerding out about Jacksfilms and the Avengers with me.

Of course, I could have never done anything without my best-assistant-in-the-world, Steve Cukovich. There was never once that I asked Steve to do something and he didn’t deliver. There were about 50 occasions, however, that Steve went above-and-beyond what I expected. While I will admit, I’m glad I can finally turn off Twitter Push-notifications for every team on campus, I know that I’m going to need to read every Rocket sports story next year, because with you at the helm, it is going to be out of this world.

Oscar my man, I am so glad you finally get your shot at assistant sports editor. If nobody knows Oscar, this is the only thing that needs to be said. Oscar was asleep in bed at 10:50 a.m., and I asked him if he could go to a baseball game at 11 a.m. He went, interviewed the coach and a player and wrote a great story a matter of hours later. That work ethic will only make this section even more stellar.

I am nothing without my contributors. Keegan, the world’s most acclaimed writer for anything involving running. Karl who became one of the most dependable people that I know with insane turnaround times on his stories. Brendan came along as a freshman and blew me out of the water with his drive and pure writing ability. Zack, your pure enthusiasm for Division II tennis is truly something to behold, you will only continue to improve with everything you do.  It really hurts me that the sports section only has two positions, because all of you deserve to be staffers. You will all have your time to shine.

I know this is getting very long, I’m sorry Victoria, it’s almost over. The Sports Information department deserves a special thank you for meeting me with nothing but professionalism throughout my three years and providing assistance. Individual thank yous to coach Papa, coach Van Alstyne, coach Swiney, coach Meredith, coach Griggs, coach Small, coach Reynolds, coach McGraw, coach Messer, coach Rice and coach Lokash for making my job insanely easy by being forever patient and giving. A super-special thank you to coach Lutz for being an amazing coach in three years with Rock football, and an even more amazing coach to interview, #Relentless.

To every player I interviewed, thanks for giving the weird, chubby bearded guy with an anime T-shirt on your five minutes. I will forever look back on my opportunity to interview tremendous athletes and people like Marcus Martin, Tyler Walters, Alex Pantuso, Sabrina Anderson and about a million more.

This is already too long, so this will be as brief as I can make it. Thank you to everybody who ever mentored me, assisted me or read the paper. You are the reason I was able to make it through college. When my mother passed away last February, I heavily considered leaving The Rock for good. After this newspaper pulled me back in, I can say that myself, my amazing girlfriend Chey and my mother are eternally grateful for creating an atmosphere that I looked forward to being in every single day. With one last dab, this meme big boy is out for good.

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Sports editor says “lol, bye”