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PARTING SHOT: BAC in the Game No Longer

By Brian A. Campos, Crimson Staff Writer

I came back to 14 Plympton Street to write this parting shot because it seemed appropriate. What I didn’t expect was to be enveloped one last time in the legendary LoveSac, a humongous blue beanbag, here for storage, that has been passed on between generations of Sports editors.

The passing down of the LoveSac is just one of the many traditions of the Sports Board. It is perfect timing that I ran into it—it is quickly evoking memories (some of them a little hazy) that I’d like to share.

*****

The first person I think about when I see the LoveSac is its former owner, Loren Amor ’10. I don’t want to flatter him too much, but Loren was one of the biggest reasons why I joined the board. Going into my second semester at Harvard, I was a reckless freshman still trying to find his niche.

A close friend suggested that I check out the Crimson, so I went to my first Sports meeting one sunny Sunday afternoon—according to his parting shot, this, creepily, is the same reason Loren joined the Crimson.

It was a match made in heaven.  I took an instant liking to my comp directors, Kate Leist ’11 and Max N. Brondfield ’11, and fell in love with what the board stood for. Joining the board meant keeping sports as a big part of my life. Like some members, I was a former athlete who just did not cut it at the collegiate level, so writing about sports was the next best option.

Joining the board also meant becoming integrated into its social scene, which sounded like fun—I learned that this was very true at my first comp outing.

But ultimately, joining Sports meant that I would work with a great combination of personalities and characters, and the people were what really mattered to me.

Loren was one of those people. He,  like me,  grew up in Queens, and he supports all the sports teams I like. His sense of humor was compatible with mine, and he and Dixon McPhillips ’10 had the respect of their peers. After meeting a guy who could potentially be a mentor and sharing a couple of laughs with the board, I was certain that I had found that niche that I was looking for.

That sentiment only grew after I got into Kirkland, as both chairs and my eventual co-comp director, Timothy J. Walsh ’11, were also residents of the best house on campus. It seemed like destiny to me.

*****

Max also comes to mind because he inherited the LoveSac after Loren, but you cannot think Max without the K. Kate and Max (K-Max) were a powerful tandem that not only truly shaped the board but were also influential in my life. As comp directors, they taught me everything I know about sports writing. As Sports chairs, they taught me how to lead a board and effect change. Being a comp director and exec under their leadership was the ultimate preparation for my own tenure as Sports chair.

Most importantly, they were great mentors and friends. Whenever they saw opportunities for growth in my writing, they would help me out. Whenever I needed advice about my pre-med classes or my personal life, they would readily give it. Whenever I partied, it was with them and the board.

*****

The LoveSac went to E. Benjamin Samuels ’13 last year since he had space in his room for it. And I feel like it went to the right person since he represents the strides the board has made in the past years. An exec during my time as Sports chair, Ben is now one of the few presidents in the history of the Crimson to hail from Sports, which speaks volumes of the progress of a board that was once comprised of only four members.

But I mention Ben because only two years ago he was one of my first compers, which reminds me that my foot is truly out the door. I have seen him and his classmates grow into fantastic leaders of not only Sports but also the entire building, and I cannot believe that was the doing of the 138 and guards before us.

I have held leadership positions in the past, but it is in college that I realized that one can have a real impact on younger generations, and it is quite evident in this column. Here I am babbling about friends who have shaped my life, and I just hope that the 138 has had that positive effect on the 139 and beyond.

*****

I do not think I can write a parting shot without mentioning my unexpected bromance with Dennis J. Zheng ’12. At the start of our tenure as Sports chairs, Dennis was not even a friend—I had had only a handful of conversations with him, and I found him a little intimidating.

He was a pre-med like I was, but his eye for the minutiae was something that I did not have. He was a strong writer and accomplished editor, but only a few people on the board knew him well. So when we started our tenure, we complemented each other nicely but were unfamiliar with our respective ways.

The Sundays we spent putting the Sports section together helped. We learned about our respective tastes in music, found out that we loved Domino’s a little too much, and shared our personal stories and drama. Maybe old Indian customs have it right—this arranged marriage has truly worked out.

*****

To be honest, I did not know what my parting shot would be about—hence the whole LoveSac theme—but as I started writing, it became clear that I wanted this column to express my gratitude to the Crimson.

I wanted to thank the Crimeds who influenced my decisions and shaped my college career. I wanted to express how grateful I am to the Crimson for the support it has given me on so many levels. Execs and writers, I love you. The friendships I have formed here by performing exec duties, doing Commencement production, or covering a beat—especially the same ones throughout the years, Alex Sopko—are ones that will last a lifetime.

I wish I had more space to talk about the process behind several stories I have written, the time I went to Cornell with a ragtag crew, my random Dartmouth road trip, all the holiday parties and socials, our trip to the NCAA tournament, Commencement 2011, etc. I wish I could mention more people as well—there have been numerous coaches, players, and fellow Sports members who have taught me a lot. But I will leave Harvard and the Crimson with a plethora of memories and feeling that I am the luckiest guy ever, and I cannot ask more than that. Thank you, The Harvard Crimson.

—Staff writer Brian A. Campos can be reached at bcampos@post.harvard.edu.

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Commencement 2012