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Beginnings and Endings: Parting Shot

Despite the abrupt ending of my reporting career at the hands of the pandemic, nothing can take away its amazing beginning, from post-game press conferences to post-social Kong trips.

By Joseph W. Minatel, Crimson Staff Writer

In the Crimson Sports Comp, soon-to-be staff writers are taught not to write strictly in chronological order. Game stories should not flow from the first to fourth quarter by rule, a comp director would explain in the Sanctum to a dwindling number of compers on a Sunday afternoon, but rather hook the reader early with the most important part of the contest. As my time with The Crimson comes to an end sitting at home rather than celebrating on campus, and I clear out my email that I will no longer be reachable at, I can’t help but follow this hallowed commandment one last time and reflect on the beginning.

My beginnings could not have been more lucky thanks to the crop of editors above me on the Crimson Sports Board. The Brain Trust that preceded me welcomed us with open arms, with chairs Sam Danello and Stephen Gleason leading our Board faithfully, and Jack Stockless and Troy Bocelli guiding me through the comp as I adjusted to college. I owe my entire Crimson career to this class of leaders, pillars of excellence to be emulated at every step, both in and out of the press box. As we sat on the floor of Gleason’s house outside Philly at two in the morning, Troy live-edited my story covering the Ivy League Basketball Tournament on-site. I felt this mentorship just as much months before at knockoff China King, when Troy urged me, “DON’T drink that” as he passed a self-made cocktail of contents with ambitious ratios to me along the table’s lazy susan.

That’s not to say my reporting career didn’t have its own flashes of greatness. Amir Mamdani and I put together an electric dynamic duo covering women’s basketball our freshman year, reveling in the greatness of KDS and her postgame comments. I founded the Katie Benzan Fan Club and had some trouble adjusting from impassioned fan to impartial reporter, with Amir and I completely invested in our beat not just to write, but to root for as well.

I would trade the court for the gridiron, reporting with Cade Palmer and James “Ulysses” Joyce on the football team, where the Special Teams Fan Club was born. Our speedy team had a penchant for publishing right away, whether we were writing thousands of words about punters, or some other stuff.

Soon enough, I found myself a part of leadership, guiding an enormous contingent of compers with my partner Henry Zhu. We declared ourselves recruiting geniuses as we grew the next generation of sports writers who are still taking the building by storm. While this class was truly impressive, our greatest achievement was perhaps the invention of Sports Formal Fashion for important Crimson events. While it has yet to take over the Patagonia vests of Silicon Valley, our innovative fashion transformed the fancy social events of The Crimson. I hope that decades from now, when the rest of the building makes up a sea of suits and dresses, our Board continues to show up fashionably late donning their favorite jerseys.

Even when I became chair, it was the people that made every experience worth it. Henry served as my better half during my first go as chair, as he was truly the steady hand that guided the ship. When Will Boggs took over for Henry and I continued on, he filled in Henry’s role through a pandemic despite any “ veteran experience” that I may have had.

These duties weren’t always the most important moments. I remember singing Dancing Queen in Gleason’s massive Currier suite just as well as I remember trying to swipe swag while reporting from opposing stadiums to decorate the Cube. I furiously typed away in Columbia’s press box to beat the traffic home, but I also furiously tore through scal pals while resident life-of-the-party Spencer Morris dapped up our favorite Kong server.

Even so, it wasn’t always sunshine and roses. The minuscule social budget was often depleted much too early into the semester, calling for all-important personal donations. I was personally responsible for the battery of Spencer’s Adams suite that graciously hosted us many a time. We were called into the President’s office more times than we would’ve liked, sometimes for business, oftentimes for Sports Board shenanigans. Nevertheless, we usually left the meetings with the same result as the one given to us by the Massachusetts State Police Officer that pulled over the football contingent on our way home from a long day of reporting at Princeton: a warning.

What is the true point of all of these stories from my storied Crimson Sports career? Perhaps it’s that the people of the Board are what truly make it great. Sure, we’ve won some awards and done some great reporting, but the companionship of my fellow editors will live on forever. The Crimson may have a rule to never remove articles, but the memories my friends and I made are even more permanent. After page is completed and a closeout is written, the more straws in your scorpion bowl, the better.

To be honest, I didn’t have an overarching point in mind while writing my last hurrah. After all, I’ve used my platform in a questionable fashion throughout my tenure, and I see no reason to change that now. Through countless columns, I’ve simply written down exactly what I’ve thought. When I think about my Sports Board tenure, all I can think — despite its tragic ending — is that we had a whole lot of fun. Probably the same thoughts shared by the Brown football team at the end of yet another loss. Consider that unprovoked yet characteristic attack my true parting shot.

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Sports FeaturesCommencement 2021