I have played a lot of tennis in my life. When I was young and saw my dad on the weekends, it was one of our favorite things to do together in an afternoon. I remember these afternoons to be some of the most frustrating and rewarding hours of my life. My dad would stand in front, feeding ball after ball, interjecting every once in a while to say, “Don’t fight the net!” each time I would miss the ball short. When I got to seventh grade, I tried out for the team and made it. Now, ten years later, I have just played my final collegiate match.
Division III collegiate athletes display a certain level of determination rarely seen at other stages of life. While trying to navigate through school work, future plans and relationships, there is also the responsibility of training hard everyday and representing your school proudly. However, I have never seen it as a responsibility, but more as a privilege.
For the past four years, I have gotten to go outside with my teammates and simply play. I got to recapture moments from my childhood that remind me why I play tennis in the first place. I will miss the satisfaction of hitting a perfect shot, and even the disappointment of losing a close match— that burns a fire in me to get better. Muhlenberg tennis gave me a goal to strive for each day, to improve, not just for myself, but for my team. Now that my collegiate career is over, I hope to find something else to be as passionate about.
The Muhlenberg Weekly:
I did not know what the Muhlenberg Weekly was until my second semester of college. Previously, I wanted to join either the radio or TV station on campus; I had done a lot of live TV production in high school. However, after taking Introduction to Longform Journalism my freshman year, I was intrigued by my professor’s offer for each student to write an article for the Weekly. I volunteered to write a sports article, one of the few subjects I am confident of my knowledge in. My first assignment was an article about the graduating class of 2018 women’s basketball team. I remember emailing the coach to ask if I could interview him and a few of his players after the game. I remember eagerly waiting for the game to be over, and once it did, I stood nervously at midcourt with a notebook and pen. In that moment, unsure of what to do next, I knew I liked this unique, uncomfortable experience. My years of playing sports and watching SportsCenter were finally paying off. Simply by assigning me an article, the Weekly helped me prove to myself that I could possibly become a sports journalist. Three years on, having served as both Assistant Sports Editor and Co-Sports Editor, I am still grateful to the Weekly for that opportunity.
I must confess though, between tennis and school I was not always the best editor. In fact Alex Blum, my co-editor for the better part of three years, has been the driver of the sports section. When I forget to send assignment sheets, he has me covered. When I am late with an article I am supposed to write, he doesn’t panic. When I don’t respond to his texts, he simply sends more of them. Although I was technically his co-sports editor, I will not pretend that we have made equal contributions. Without him, there would not be a sports section each week.
Writers for the Weekly aren’t paid, there is no academic credit for it, nor does it count for a work-study program. Everyone who joins the Muhlenberg Weekly, or writes for them, does so simply because they want to. And the workload can be immense. At the Weekly, editors are responsible for coming up with story ideas, assigning them to writers, editing, uploading, and sometimes interviewing. All of this while juggling school and other responsibilities. For these reasons, I have no doubt that every single person who works for the Weekly can be a great journalist. They have a drive that is apparent each week. Varsity sports teams have their obvious benefits, and so do paying jobs. The reward for writing for the Weekly is arguably better though, holding a completed issue of the Weekly, on newsprint, with your name on it—it doesn’t get much better than that.
The pandemic should have slowed the Weekly down. With few students on campus, no sporting events going on, and few news stories, a student-run club would have been forgiven for slacking off. But, the editors at the Weekly quickly adapted to an online format and created stories where there seemingly were none. Whatever obstacle the Weekly faces next, I doubt it will get in their way. As anxious and excited as I was at that basketball game in 2018, I am even more excited to see what stories the Weekly produces next.