Heyen: Hack recalls the 5 words that began quite the journey

first_img Published on April 24, 2019 at 9:43 pm “We’re gonna let you go.” Those were the words that ended my baseball career. It was September 2015, and I’d just been cut from the Case Western Reserve University baseball team. Little did I know all the other places that I’d be able to go because of those five words.Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be an engineer, like my parents and like my friends. And ever since I knew I’d write a “Hack” for The Daily Orange, I figured that’s what it would be about: Civil engineering student turned journalist, relating something I learned in a physics lab to being a writer. But as the words sometimes do, they’ve taken me elsewhere.I’m self-aware enough to know that if I had made that baseball team, I wouldn’t have been able to leave CWRU. I couldn’t have known it then, but the coach, Matt Englander, was sending me on quite the journey.“We’re gonna let you go” to 744 Ostrom Ave. That perfectly imperfect red door holding the three digits with angles that fit so beautifully together. The sports office where I learned the importance of interior decorating and the unimportance of sleep. The place where I met some of my best friends and spent the majority of my waking hours for semesters on end.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“We’re gonna let you go” to Salt Lake City, Utah on that most recent of road trips to the NCAA Tournament. Vivint Smart Home Arena, what a name, for a trip that ended all too quickly. An encounter with some Syracuse players within an hour of our arrival on a dark sidewalk a couple hundred feet from our Airbnb. And then a return trip to that spot, Red Iguana, for what must’ve been the best Mexican food and the longest wait in Utah.Alexandra Moreo | Senior Staff PhotographerCovering March Madness was only the culmination, though. Multiple past D.O. staffers have written their Hacks about their last road trip, and I can relate. It wouldn’t have been nearly as sad when I plodded back into my apartment pulling my suitcase one last time if not for the trips that came before it.“We’re gonna let you go” to Ann Arbor, Michigan for the field hockey NCAAs. The stops along the way with Andrew Graham to post coverage, mere hours after we’d written coverage of our own. The D.O. Sports tennis-mobile out for a bit longer cruise. Mama Graham’s apple cake. “We’re gonna let you go” to the ACC women’s basketball tournament in Greensboro, N.C. with Nick Alvarez, he of no driver’s license. Ten hours there. A 29-5 fourth quarter for Virginia Tech. More than 10 hours back, with a snowstorm shutting down I-81 in Pennsylvania. “We’re gonna let you go” to Columbus, Ohio — the Ohio State — and Madison Square Garden — the Mecca — and Glens Falls, N.Y. — JGIII — and so many more.Some days, I didn’t even have to get in a car. I just got to walk down the massive wind tunnel that is the stroll from The D.O. to the Dome, inevitably messing up my hair. Covering games in the most recognizable building in Syracuse, a place I only ever saw on ESPN. Sliding by Zion Williamson in a hallway. Seeing Tyus Battle make Syracuse’s chancellor leap up and down. Watching the eventual national champions practically light the basket on fire. It’s kind of ironic to think about, that instead of taking D-III baseball road trips, I was traveling to cover D-I athletics. I could’ve been skipping class to hit baseball after baseball off a stationary tee or stress about an upcoming physics or calculus test. Instead, I skipped class — don’t worry Mom, not too often — to write, edit or travel for stories. Considering all the words I’ve written in this newspaper since, I’m not quite sure why those five words, never written down until now, stuck with me. They weren’t the only words Englander spoke to me; I’m pretty sure they weren’t at the beginning or the end, but in the middle of his remarks. Maybe it’s because at the time, and even reading them aloud to myself now, they sound so final. But what I didn’t know on that September day sounds like a lesson an editor would pass on to a writer: Words are only final if there’s a period at the end of them. And hey: There’s always another sentence to be written.Billy Heyen was a senior staff writer at The Daily Orange, where his column will no longer appear. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @wheyen3.– 30 – Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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