To Be a Sports Editor

Nate Levinson, Sports Editor

This editorial is the last in my run as one of the sports editors of this paper, and I can’t help but feel a little nostalgic. By my unofficial count, I’ve written 67 articles in my two-plus years with the paper, including 21 “In the Locker Room” interviews and 25 editorials, including this one.

I’d be lying if I said I envisioned this long tenure with the paper when I got to Oberlin. I didn’t join until second semester my sophomore year, and I only wrote five articles before interviewing for the job. Thankfully I got it, and if I do say so myself, it has been a match made in heaven.

My time at the Review has given me the chance to write about the national sports topics I love in addition to offering me the opportunity to connect with Oberlin athletics in a way most non-athletes can’t or don’t. Most students at Oberlin are aware when their friends’ teams are doing well or in season, but don’t care much beyond that. As a sports editor, I’ve gotten to delve deeper than that. It probably goes without saying that I’m far more interested in covering national sports topics, but the chance to cover athletes I go to school with is still pretty cool. There’s definitely been a shift in the talent level and culture of the athletics teams in the four years I’ve been here, and that’s been fun to watch and write about.

Talking about sports has always been a way for me to connect with people I know only superficially, but that option hasn’t been so readily available at Oberlin. I definitely get to talk sports with some people on campus, but it’s not like being back home, where my friends, for the most part, are up to date on all the sports-related news I obsess over every day.

Looking at it negatively, it’s pretty disappointing that I can’t talk about something I love with more than a handful of friends, but I don’t always see it that way. Writing and talking about sports here is a challenge — a challenge to see if I can get a mostly unenthused student body to care just a little bit more.

I’ve definitely tried to keep an open mind about being a sports fan at Oberlin, but my patience has certainly worn thin at times. For some reason I won’t take the time to get into, sports, and competition more generally, carry a pretty large stigma at Oberlin. I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve heard people say something sarcastic along the lines of “Sports, yeah!” when I get excited about some specific sporting event. As far as I’m concerned, it’s akin to saying “Art, yeah!” at the Met, as if all forms of art there are the same. I get that not everyone is as passionate about sports as I am, but what I don’t understand is the passionate dislike people seem to have for athletic competition.

At the Review, I’m most definitely the office’s biggest sports fan — sorry, present and past co-editors — so my biggest challenge has been conveying my passionate views about the games to a campus that is apathetic, at most, about nearly every topic I’ve written about. I’ve tried to bridge the gap by writing about social issues in sports, but I can’t help but feel like people gloss over the Sports section most weeks. That makes sense — I’m not exactly an avid reader of the Arts section of the Review — but I hope I’ve at least encouraged a few non-sports people to take an interest in either Oberlin athletics or the national topics I cover in my editorials.

At the very least, I hope I’ve taught a few of the uninitiated a thing or two, and maybe I’ve even given some other campus sports fans something to read about every week. Or maybe my mom is still the only one who reads my work. Either way, I’ve enjoyed writing every word.