If you think reading The Daily Pennsylvanian's April Fools issue is funny, writing it is a riot.
The joke issue is a time when DP editors can relax and have fun, and that April night two years ago should have been a break from my daily grind as a sports editor.
At 10 p.m., I came up with the ingenious idea of writing a brief about my JV basketball coach Shawn "Obie" Trice strangling a kid on our team, and landing a job coaching under Bob Huggins.
My senior sports editor, however, didn't approve. And when my co-editor decided to write an inside-joke brief of his own, things got ugly. We yelled, cursed, insulted and yelled some more, until we barely got the paper out by 3 a.m.
Sadly, this wasn't a one-time thing.
That first semester was the toughest four months of my life. I was trying to pass my classes, stay afloat as the last man on the bench on the JV team and put in 45-hour weeks at the DP, all while hollering and getting hollered at nearly every night.
At that moment, it seemed like our lives depended on the text displayed in the lower left column of the joke issue. Soon after, the three of us did some soul searching.
Each of us learned how to pick our battles. We figured out that there were bigger issues to tend to. We realized that while our own opinions were the correct ones, proving that wasn't worth getting five hours of sleep instead of six.
So the next semester, we lightened up.
I respected the opinions of my two editors, and they reciprocated. When one came in 15 minutes late, I kept my mouth shut. When one vetoed my creative headline, I didn't put up a fuss. When the managing editor told us "that's why people think your section is a joke," we held our tongues. And each time I took too long to write a headline, they both stopped yelling.
The nights got shorter, the days got less stressful and the papers, in fact, got better.
Being an editor at the DP taught me more than just how to read articles. I learned how to manage a staff, how to work quickly (well, sort of), how to work under pressure, how to handle disasters and, most importantly, how to communicate with people.
And now, I have to say thanks to the many people who kept me alive while I was a sports editor and during these four years (a.k.a - start up the inside jokes).
To Mom and Dad, for assuring me that I wasn't wasting my life at 4015 Walnut Street, for editing enough papers and assignments to make sure that I didn't fail out of school, for doing my laundry and for bringing me Looza juice and leftovers when I didn't have time to buy food.
To Pop-Pop Sam, for teaching me to never get discouraged during tough times.
To my brother Max, for waking up Saturdays at 9 a.m. with me to watch Manchester City play.
To basketball, for helping me avoid gaining the "DP 15."
To Lee, for your late-night guitar freestylin'.
To Ben, for being the only person crazy enough to play glass pong with me.
To Greg, for helping to remind me I'm from West Philly.
To Zachary, for (somehow) convincing me to be an editor.
To Ilario, for being able to joke around and keep me sane every night at 2 a.m.
To Matt, who didn't kill me after I would take 30 minutes to write a caption (please, it was not 45 minutes) and after my inside jokes did, indeed, get into the paper.
And to the DP, for teaching me in just one year more than all of my classes combined.
Josh Wheeling is a 2008 College graduate from Philadelphia, and is former Sports Editor of The Daily Pennsylvanian. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.Comments powered by Disqus
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