If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
Or write about ’em.
I chose Penn over several Division III schools where I would have competed as a varsity swimmer. Not quite fast enough to jump in with the Quakers, I arrived at Penn as an official NARP — non-athletic real person.
For nearly three months I struggled without a team, and I yearned to be involved in the athletic community. Sometime in November of my first semester, I joined The Daily Pennsylvanian’s Only Section That Matters.
My intentions were never to turn it into a career or even take on more than a 10 hour per week commitment. I joined it for camaraderie and fun.
And I kept having fun. So much fun that I switched my major. So much fun that every conversation I had was about Penn athletics. So much fun that I even dreamed Penn athletics.
With each passing semester, I was doing things I’d never thought I would or could. I covered Usain Bolt, interviewed Maury Povich about Penn basketball, convinced athletic director Steve Bilsky to build the field hockey team a proper field (taking 100 percent of the credit for this one), went on the road to amazing cities like Boston, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Hanover, N.H., battled ESPN on “dislike female commentators” and shared the stories of Penn’s incredible and inspiring student-athletes.
Some of these athletes became my friends and some of these athletes probably think I am the most annoying person in the world. I’ve written tough stories and asked tough questions. And though that part wasn’t always fun, it’s still part of the job.
I countered the not-so-fun stories with more fun pieces like the time I had dinner with Penn football’s offensive line, all of the Princeton trash-talk columns and Swamis introductions and showing the world on video that I can only make a field goal from 10 yards. Still waiting for that last one to go viral.
Before I knew it, four years went by and I was making myself a career in sports. I can only hope that I have as much fun in the future as I did the past four years. At Penn — and especialy at the DP — I learned to do what makes me happy.
I’m surrounded by a lot of people who have made these last four years so fun. To you I owe my greatest thanks:
My DPOSTM family old and new, especially Michael Gold, Calder Silcox, Brian Kotloff, Kevin Esteves, Jennifer Scuteri and my 128 editors for being incredible friends and mentors.
Athletic Communications, especially Chas and Eric for tolerating me when I rolled into your office after a run smelling like the football team’s locker room. And for dealing with DPOSTM every day of your lives.
All of the athletes, coaches, administrators and staffers for allowing me to share your stories. You’ve challenged me to become a better person in more ways than one.
My dear friends for never giving up on me even when I only had five free minutes to chat. You were always so supportive, and you taught me the true meaning and spirit of friendship.
Friars for pulling me from press row into the stands.
Blarney Stone and all of its occupants for providing a couple story ideas along the way.
And finally, I thank my family. Dad, you’ve always told me to do what makes me happy and this is it. Mom, you provide unparalleled comic relief whether you mean it or not. Drew and Sarah, you give me so much love and Kitty, you keep me grounded. Collectively you’ve instilled in me a love of sports and have pushed me to go after my goals.
I never imagined I’d graduate with a job in sports, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Megan Soisson is a senior health and societies major from Mechanicsburg, Pa., and was senior sports editor of The Daily Pennsylvanian. After graduation, she will work for MLB Advanced Media. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
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