“So, what do you think is wrong with the Cal football team?”
I was a fresh-faced freshman, hoping to fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming a sports journalist. I had worked up enough courage to finally apply to The Daily Californian (something I was too intimidated to do my first semester at UC Berkeley), and now I had to answer this simple yet daunting question from Sean, the sports editor at the time.
The fuck if I knew. All I knew was that the team sucked ass, and the only football game I went to that season was a 44-22 blowout to Washington. Even then, I showed up at halftime because I was too preoccupied playing Duke Nukem Forever. Now, in about 2.13 seconds, I had to somehow single-handedly break down Cal football and tell this guy something that even resembled an OK answer.
“Yeah well … they just look … wrong when they play.”
Jesus Christ. I wrapped up the rest of his questions and went home expecting the rejection email that I inevitably got later that night. That answer still makes me cringe sometimes.
Two semesters later, I had finished collecting my dignity off the floor and applied again. I was ready this time. I had done a semester in the news department solely for writing experience, and I crammed the night before on Cal football stats. The sports gods had mercy on my soul, and less than a week later, I was covering Cal track and field.
I didn’t even care that I was covering track — I had my beat. I had my foot in the door, and I was going to take that as far as I could.
Two years later — after four semesters of working my ass off, two semesters of being an assistant and 85,000 members on my meme page — I reached the tippy top. I was the sports editor at the Daily Cal. After being rejected twice before for the same position, covering four different sports and actually moving in with one of my beat partners, I was finally where I wanted to be.
Despite probably being the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life, it was worth it. All the late nights, all the sleepless hours, all the people saying I wasn’t a “natural leader” — I still made it.
I’ve met some of the coolest people I’ll ever meet in my life, befriended my favorite MLB player and got to call home runs “dongs” while covering Cal baseball. I adopted two lizards for the sports desk and somehow didn’t write an article about Harambe (although I tried).
Now it’s my time to graduate and pass the torch while I aimlessly look for a job in sports journalism that will probably never come. But if and when I do get that job, let it be known:
There all is aching.
Chris Tril is the sports editor. Contact him at [email protected].