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​PARTING SHOT: Why we do it

At 3 in the morning as I finally close my laptop cover, set my alarm for the next morning and rest my weary eyes for the night, the question bellows through my mind, unmissable over the silence in my apartment at this late hour.

Why do I do this?

It was early spring 2013, and I was entering my fourth week as senior associate editor for the Sports section. I had not slept more than a few hours in days. I had not touched my homework in weeks. I had not had a minute of free time in what felt like months. I was exhausted.

My schedule went something like this: Sunday night, edit every sports article for the next day's paper, put them online, write headlines for the print edition, coordinate with writers and other editors to ensure all goes smoothly, etc. Eight hours later…

Wake up on Monday and write a preview for the baseball team. Quotes are to be retrieved at 2 p.m. — the only time the team is free — so I sneak out the back of my Psychology lecture after 15 minutes and bike to Davenport field. Then I race back home to transcribe and write. Three hours later…

The women's basketball team plays in an hour. It's time to bike back to JPJ for the game. Once the two hour contest ends, I rush to finish the article. The task is made more difficult by my fatigue, but I manage to meet deadline nonetheless. Three hours later…

I'm biking home, trying to ignore the winter chill and avoid the cars swerving around me as I pedal below McCormick Bridge on my way to Bice Apartments. The flashing light behind the bike was probably a smart addition, the only thing that keeps me safe on these late-night rides home from sporting events that are becoming routine. Thirty minutes later…

I arrive home, just in time to transcribe the rest of the quotes and send them to a new staff writer, who has mercifully signed up to write the women's basketball preview for the next game. Twenty minutes later…

My head hits the pillow, and that question, the one about motives and my workload, begins to swirl. It pulls me awake even as my mind yearns for sleep.

I begin with these stories not to set up my ultimate indictment of The Cavalier Daily, not to conclude once and for all that doing so was a grave mistake.

Instead, I describe these experiences to hint at something else — a different question. One that has occupied my thoughts ever since.

How much personal satisfaction must the paper have provided to get me to willingly commit to that schedule for roughly two years?

And how much genuine fulfillment must it have provided to allow me to reflect fondly on those days almost two years later?

The answer is that working for the paper was not merely time-consuming, frustrating and overwhelming — although at times it was all of those things. It was, quite simply, the most incredible thing I have done, not just at the University, but in my entire life.

Thankfully, on those draining spring days in 2013, that thought was just as prominent as my doubts about the workload.

The opportunities, experiences, friendships and challenges The Cavalier Daily provided were irreplaceable, and shape both who I am today and who I strive to be tomorrow.

I have learned to be more independent and self-assured, more ambitious and optimistic and more confident in my ability to handle responsibility.

I have also realized that it is more important to love what you do than to love what it takes to do it.

Working seven hours in a single evening without earning a penny may sound miserable. But it allowed me to sit down for press conferences with three Hall of Fame basketball coaches, develop semi-personal relationships with future professional athletes and gain behind the scenes access to my favorite sports teams. It gave me opportunities and experiences I could not otherwise have imagined.

It also introduced me to some of the most amazing people I have ever known, and I would like to conclude by thanking a few of them. First, my mentor Ashley Robertson, whose positive energy and passion for journalism inspired me. Second, my co-editors Fritz Metzinger, Ian Rappaport, Zack Bartee and Mike Eilbacher, whose talents made the paper excellent on a daily basis. Third, the next group of leaders on the sports section Peter Nance, Matthew Morris, Ryan Taylor, Matthew Wurzburger and Rob Elder, who have given me great confidence in the paper's future. And finally, to all the other writers and editors over the years who helped make my time on the paper so much fun.

Daniel Weltz was the 124th Sports Editor of The Cavalier Daily.


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