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Parting Shot: The State of the Crimson

Former Sports Board Co-Chairs Griffin Wong '24 and Alex Wilson '24, in their element.
Former Sports Board Co-Chairs Griffin Wong '24 and Alex Wilson '24, in their element. By Courtesy of Griffin Wong

My friend Alexandra would greet me with the same question every single day throughout my sophomore fall.

“What’s the state of The Crimson?”

Two and a half years later, I finally have an answer for her:

It’s chaotic. It’s stressful. And it’s beautiful all the same.

* * * * *

As I reflect on my four-year journey for The Crimson, the date that sticks out in my head is January 17, 2024 — the date that Tim Murphy retired as the head coach of Harvard Football.

That morning, I was at home in Los Angeles, three hours behind the news cycle. I woke up at about 7:30 a.m. to texts from Sports Chairs Jack Silvers and Katharine Forst letting me know. My heart rate quickly spiked and my waking stupor immediately dissipated.

To a sports writer, Tim Murphy’s retirement was what Claudine Gay’s resignation was for News — the holy grail of coverage opportunities. It was a day that I had looked forward to — not because I thought Harvard’s football program would be better off without the Ivy League’s all-time winningest coach, but because I knew I would get to write, and if there’s one thing I learned at Harvard, it’s that I love to write.

That day, before eating breakfast, I got a call from Managing Editor Miles Herszenhorn to discuss coverage. I spent virtually the entire day helping to write three stories — a quick breaking news primer with my Sports Chair successor Aaron Shuchman, a full-length feature on Murphy’s incredible legacy with Nadia Fairfax, and a piece on players’ reactions with Katharine, Jack, and Nadia.

With the exception of a three-hour break to go tux shopping for my brother’s wedding and eat dinner, I was locked in from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. I pulled quotes from 12 current and former players, and I interviewed Murphy and defensive coordinator Scott Larkee ’99. All of my self-imposed thesis deadlines went out the window. I loved every second of it.

But developing a relationship with the organization so deep that my friend Jo Lemann called me “the most involved Dino I’ve ever seen” definitely wasn’t easy or painless.

During my sophomore fall, I wrote 24 stories, becoming the first sportswriter in a while to take on the football beat alone. I woke up slightly hungover the morning after my 21st birthday to grind out a story of the Crimson’s win over Brown the previous night. One road trip to Princeton kept me away from Eliot House from 5:30 a.m. to 11:45 p.m., and it ended in a controversial, heartbreaking loss that ultimately cost Harvard a share of the Ivy League title. I’ll never forget the pain in Coach Murphy’s voice as I interviewed him after that game.

My year-long term as co-chair was incredibly stressful at times. On the very first day of print production in late January, one of the articles we were supposed to publish fell through on Saturday night, and I had to pull out my own version of the “Boggs Booty Call” — named after my chair predecessor, Will Boggs — by sending long texts to two writers begging them to send me stories with a 24-hour turnaround. It was a harbinger of things to come; throughout the year, there were missed deadlines, midnight page corrections, and articles that were, honestly, in need of a lot of work.

That fall, I remember a nine-day stretch where I had to write three ten-page papers for classes, conduct 40 interviews as part of The Crimson’s turkey shoot process, write three stories for the football beat, help edit Sports Board’s annual Harvard-Yale supplement, and maintain our weekly production. During that stretch, I stayed in the office past 2:00 a.m. several nights, to the point where the only people left at 14 Plympton were me, Managing Editor Jasper Goodman ’23, and President Raquel Coronell Uribe ’22-24.

But the strongest bonds are forged in the hottest fires. I wouldn’t have fallen in love with The Crimson if not for the incredible people around the building who lifted me up during the hardest times.

Throughout our year as chairs, Alex Wilson and I texted each other more than even our parents, and she became one of my closest friends, someone I could lean on for far more than just journalism advice.

We both sacrificed a lot of our classwork and social lives in order to help build the Sports Board we knew it could be. Throughout it all, we believed in each other. For every argument, there were ten laughs and hugs. Being co-chair was one of the most stressful things I did at Harvard, but I can’t imagine doing it with anybody but Alex.

Alex was far from the only person who helped make my time with The Crimson the amazing experience that it was, and I can’t come close to thanking them all in this piece.

To Miles Herszenhorn and Claire Yuan, you are both incredible reporters and better friends. I truly look up to you, and your talents have no limits. Thank you for helping me stay involved in the organization even after my chair term was over.

To Cara Chang ’24, you are the most hard-working, dedicated worker I’ve ever met, and somehow, you never let it stop you from being kind and funny at all times. I am so grateful for your friendship.

To Sami Turner, Laurinne Eugenio, and Jo Lemann, you are the reason that I still have tried to pop by the office during my senior spring. Thanks for making this Dino feel welcomed and valued.

To Will Boggs and A.J. Dilts, you believed in Alex and I from the beginning, pushed us to shoot for co-chair in the first place, and patiently answered all our questions. We truly could not have done it without you.

To Aaron Shuchman and Mairead Baker, you took the foundation that Will, A.J., Alex, and I helped to lay and took it to new heights. I am so proud of what you have built, and I know that the future of the Sports Board is bright.

To Kym Wimberly, Tyler Neville, Thor Griffith, and the Greatest Coach in Ivy League Football History, Tim Murphy: you barely know me outside the context of being a football reporter, but each of you has been so supportive of me in my other endeavors regardless, and I’m so grateful to you for that.

To Jack Silvers, you are such a gifted writer and a great person, and I can’t wait to see where you and Katharine take Sports Board this year. There’s nobody with whom I would rather share Associated College Press awards, or jokes in the Harvard Stadium press box.

To Katharine Forst, one of your comp articles was the first story I ever edited for The Crimson. I am so honored that you were the person to edit my last-ever stories for the organization as well. Thank you for your endless support and friendship over the years.

* * * * *

The old sheet has been flying at 14P for 151 years, and I’m sure that it will continue to fly for at least 151 more.

At the end of the day, my impact on The Crimson has been minimal. But The Crimson’s impact on me has been immense.

I don’t know where the rest of my life will take me, but when I look back on my four years at Harvard, some of my fondest memories will come from writing for this newspaper.

* * * * *

What’s the state of The Crimson?

It’s the grind of typing furiously to get gamers done as quickly as possible after the final whistle.

It’s the stress of late-night editing sessions and texts that simply read, “Bump.”

And, more than anything, it’s the beautiful people that make this organization home.

—Griffin Wong ’24 was the co-chair of the Crimson’s Sports Board during the 149th Guard. He can be reached at and @THCSports on Twitter.

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