One last giddy up

Published by The Rocket, Author: Stephen Cukovich - Sports Editor, Date: December 6, 2018

I’ll be completely honest here, this sucks.  It truly pains me that I have to write this because I hate saying goodbye.  There have been so many good times working with The Rocket over the past two and a half years that it will be hard to talk about them all.  The only proper way to do this is by starting at the beginning.

It all started the fall of my junior year when I started contributing for the sports section.  I honestly had no clue what I was getting myself into because I had next to no experience.  I was assigned volleyball as my first sport to cover, and it honestly scared me to death because I knew nothing about it.  I didn’t know the rules or even how the scoring worked.  I had conducted interviews before for my news writing classes with Dr. Harry, but I had never done one regarding sports.

Cody Nespor, who was the sports editor at the time, came with me to my first interview with volleyball head coach Laurie Lokash.  Beforehand he helped me design a few questions and gave me pointers on things to look for and ask questions about.  Him being by my side during that interview really gave me much more confidence because he was able to step in and ask a few questions on some things he thought I had missed.  After that interview, Cody truly never left my side.

I have never met a person more passionate for journalism than Cody.  When he became Editor-In-Chief, he was always there for us trying to help us become better at our jobs, and I trusted him because he had all the experience and knowledge to back up the advice he gave us all.  I truly am blessed we had Cody in charge.

After covering volleyball for a few weeks, I was finally able to become very confident in my abilities to talk with coaches and players.  I felt coach Lokash became familiar with me and she never gave me any trouble, despite what I had heard from other Rocket members.  In the spring that year, I was able to choose softball as my sport for the semester, and I couldn’t have been more happy with that decision.  Softball and baseball are the sports I understand the most and I was finally able to get creative and have even more fun because I knew confidently how I wanted to cover the sport.

Becoming assistant sports editor last fall, I really was able to dive-in more with The Rocket and develop the skills I still lacked such as design and leadership.  I had zero experience with design because I had never used PhotoShop or InDesign before in my life.  I was fortunate to be alongside Justin Kraus because he took me under his wing and was able to show me how we laid out our pages for print and how to organize our budget for each week.

I am glad I got to be assistant sports editor before becoming sports editor this semester because it gave me time to grow and learn.  As sports editor now, I feel I have gone somewhat from student to teacher in a way.  Although I can always still learn more, at this point I am teaching more than I am learning which is a humbling feeling.  I am very proud of my contributors and my assistant sports editor Oscar Matous.

It’s amazing to honestly sit back and watch Oscar and our new assistant sports editor Karl Ludwig begin to figure stuff out and do things on their own without my supervision.  I think I’ve left at least a small impact on their careers through showing them what I do so they can make the sports section better than when we found it, even though it was already doing just fine.

I am extremely lucky to have been surrounded by such amazing, helpful people on staff.  I’ve had many group projects for classes over my college career and often there were a few people in the group that weren’t pulling their weight.  It never felt like that at The Rocket.  Everyone has always been at the top of their game and everyone has always been able to step in and help me when I didn’t know what I was doing.

Working for The Rocket also provided me with some of the greatest friends I have made in my college career.  There has never been a dull moment in The Rocket office and I always felt comfortable with the people around me.  I’ll also never forget the triple atomic challenge video we did just the other week where Oscar, Paris Malone, and myself tried to eat six of the hottest chicken wings known to man.  We struggled greatly in the video and our pain was very visable, but I am glad we did it because it was by far the funniest things I have done for The Rocket.

It is very hard to put everything I want to say into a certain amount of words.  I know I am leaving so much and so many people out of this and I do apologize.  In the end I am extremly thankful for everything I have learned from my time at The Rocket.  I couldn’t think of a better use of my time to better forward my career.  I’d like to thank everyone who I have encountered over my college career and I wish everyone the best of luck in their careers.  I love you all and giddy up.


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