Senior Retrospective: Devote yourself to curiosity, enjoy areas of interest

Image courtesy of Doug Cobb ’23.

The Sports section is often an overlooked part of The Misc. Most people see sports as nothing more than escapism or an enjoyable waste of time. This is somewhat true, as all sports are just made-up games whose outcomes have no real impact on the world. But this is an oversimplification. As an astronomy major, I have spent the last four years studying the absurd scale of the universe and how small and insignificant we all are by comparison. If we want to be perfectly honest, everything about our lives is made up and has no real impact on the universe. So, as with every aspect of our lives, sports draw their meaning from the fact that we choose to devote our time and energy and emotions to them. 

Being both the Sports Editor at The Misc and an athlete at Vassar has given me a unique perspective. I have simultaneously gotten to be someone who draws meaning from sports by participating in them, being an avid fan of them and covering them. Pardon the cliche, but through all these experiences I have learned that sports are a microcosm of life. 

Over the past four years, I truly have seen it all. My favorite baseball team, the Washington Nationals, both won the World Series and finished dead last in the MLB while I was at Vassar. I have gotten to meet and interview people on campus who participate in and coach a wide array of sports, from rugby to lacrosse to soccer and everything in between. I have learned about sports I previously knew nothing about, such as fencing and rowing, and I now know what a “dig” is in volleyball. As an athlete myself, I have gotten to experience the camaraderie that comes with being on a team with a unified goal, the relentlessness needed to spend multiple hours doing something physically demanding every single day at practice and the perseverance needed to overcome roadblocks big and small.

And, of course, I experienced all of this with a big fat pandemic right in the middle of it. I saw my ability to participate in the sport I have loved for most of my life disappear, unsure of when or if I would get to participate in it in the same way again. I had to write about sports in Vassar College’s student newspaper of record while there were no sports taking place at Vassar for the better part of two semesters. When the world became an uncertain and dark place, I lost one of the most comforting and, up until that point, constantly available hobbies in my life when pro sports shut down. If you need proof that sports are important in this country, then look no further than March 11, 2020, when the NBA halted its season because of the pandemic. Before that point, some schools had started to close and fear was certainly ramping up, but once the NBA shut down, the rest of the country followed suit. It was the true beginning of the shutdown.

And sports are incredibly political, too. Star athletes and big sporting events have real social, political and economic power. In my time at The Misc, I have written about China using the Winter Olympics for propaganda while human rights violations happened in the background, the NFL’s hiring practices which reflect larger issues of race in America, star NBA players and vaccine hesitancy, star athletes bringing awareness to mental health issues, the NCAA and gender inequality and so much more.

All of this is a long-winded way to say: Sports matter. I already knew this before I came to Vassar, but my time here has only strengthened that conviction. I had no clue I wanted to write for the Sports section when I first got here. I had no prior experience with a newspaper and had never considered writing outside of class. But in the middle of my first-year fall, I came across Mary Cain’s story, and it lit a fire in me. I had such strong feelings about it that I decided to write an article and submit it to The Misc. I thoroughly enjoyed writing about something that mattered to me, and the excitement of seeing my name in print was indescribable. Because the Sports section seems to be perpetually looking for new writers, I was asked to write another article. And another. I didn’t officially become a staff member until February 2020, but as soon as my first article was published, I knew this was something I would be continuing. At the end of my sophomore year, I was informed that the section needed a new editor for the following fall, and again I began to consider stepping into a new position I had never previously thought about. I had no idea what I was getting myself into: long nights of fighting with InDesign in the Misc office, weekly Ed Board meetings, constantly scrambling to get enough content for the section every week. At first I didn’t enjoy it. As a section editor, you don’t get to write as much and all the aforementioned chaos adds a lot of stress to your life. But I continued doing it for four whole semesters because I grew to love it. I love all the people I got to know from Ed Board and production nights, it has been fun training my protégé, and I have gotten so good at InDesign that I can now lay out the section in under 30 minutes.

I am so glad I decided to write that article on a whim. The Misc has been such a meaningful part of my time at Vassar, and I will miss it dearly. I will miss so much about Vassar. But I think they got it just about right when they decided that college should be four years. It is time to move on. It is time for someone else to be editor of the Sports section, time for someone else to take the classes I took, time for someone else to be captain of the cross country team, time for someone else to sit in the Deece laughing with their friends for hours after dinner has ended. I am ready for something different, but I will always treasure my time here. It was truly priceless (except of course for tuition). Just like sports, Vassar draws its meaning from the fact that we all decide to devote so much time and energy and emotions to this place and these people. I am very glad I decided to devote as much as I did.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Miscellany News reserves the right to publish or not publish any comment submitted for approval on our website. Factors that could cause a comment to be rejected include, but are not limited to, personal attacks, inappropriate language, statements or points unrelated to the article, and unfounded or baseless claims. Additionally, The Misc reserves the right to reject any comment that exceeds 250 words in length. There is no guarantee that a comment will be published, and one week after the article’s release, it is less likely that your comment will be accepted. Any questions or concerns regarding our comments section can be directed to