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Changing of the Guard

There’s a new face running Thursday’s Hot Cougar Action

Do y’all have a certain theme that you feel defines you? A message that often manifests itself through art that sings to you like nothing else in the world?

No? Just me.

Or maybe not just me. I don’t know. This call and response is entirely rhetorical. I can’t hear you, and me positioning myself as the outcast in this scenario is entirely arbitrary.

Anyways, that’s beside the point. The point is that I do have that thematic connection to things. Specifically, the precipice of ambition and the downfall that might come from that ambition. So much of the art I love the most grapples with that eternal question. How much ambition is too much? How does one balance the love for others with the pursuit of their own dreams? This is something that always hits me, especially when I fall into the melancholic state I, and many other people my age, often find themselves in.

I am, by nature, a very anxious person. I’ve written versions of this millions of times over the course of my life, but I’ve never actually published anything like this. I always told myself I wasn’t a real writer, I was a journalist who occasionally vented on a soon-to-be-deleted word doc.

That changed when I published that graduation piece. For the first time in my life, I wanted others to read the inner-workings of my brain beyond the basketball court. I wanted to be more than just a court-covering robot. I thought I had something to say for once.

I was nervous, I assumed it would get turned down and I’d go back about my business as the good ol’ CougCenter basketball reporter. I had already accepted that and I was already working on the next basketball preview.

Then, Jeff Nusser brought me to tears.

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, things are changing a little over here at CougCenter. I don’t want to rehash the whole thing, but basically, all-time good guy and a personal hero of mine stepped away from his job as CougCenter editor.

It is impossible to put into one paragraph what Jeff means to me, and I know he and I share a disdain for compliments, so I will spare him the embarrassment. But it is certainly fair to say that I was hit in the feels by Jeff’s semi-goodbye, but I was hit even more by what he said to me. I won’t go too into detail, but he told me that I need to stretch my legs. That he wanted me to be more than just an analyst and try to take some swings as a writer.

In his place, stepped the funniest person I know, Emma Weightman. Emma, much like Jeff, told me it was time to get out of my comfort zone. One of her first acts as editor was to ask me to write this here column. So that’s what this is, I suppose, an introduction. I’m your new Thursday “Hot Cougar Action” - or, as some of you know it, HCA writer.

Sorry in advance.

I’ll tell you now that this won’t be as funny as what Emma writes. She is the comedian of CougCenter NextGen, whereas I am the grouch. Whenever I have written with a more narrative sense, it has been a bit of a vent. Writing is how I handle complex emotions that I can’t get out on the basketball court. I haven’t published those emotions yet, but this weekly series might be full of them. It will also be full of the Palouse updates we all know and love.

Want to hear what it’s like to almost kinda sorta technically be a student athlete? Wanna read an ode to Pullman snow? How about some annoying deep dives into the lowest depth of Ernie Kent basketball? Well then you just might be in the right place.

I can’t promise that what I write is going to be all that good or interesting or worthwhile, but I am going to try. That’s what this whole thing is, right? An excuse to try. When Jeff started CougCenter, do you think he thought it would be this? Do you think he thought that in 15 years, he’d be dumb enough to hire some schmuck in Pullman to write about basketball for him?

I doubt it.

I bet he thought it would die within 5 years. I don’t know that for sure. I’ve never asked him, and I never will, but I feel like I know enough about him to say that. I would’ve thought it would die. Hell, I think everything I do will fail sooner or later. I feel like this column will fail. It’ll crash and burn and the whole website will die with it and it’ll all be my fault.

I have expressed such concerns to my editor, to which she replies, “you’re gonna kill it.”

Ominous, I know.

The question I had for myself when I was given this slot was “what am I trying to say,” but I now realize that’s the wrong question. I’m trying to say a lot of things, that’s why this is 1000 words long and written like a 3rd grader’s stream of consciousness. The better question is “what do I want?” I want to write something fresh, something with a fun perspective on Pullman, on the Cougs, and on life. Sometimes I’m going to vent about workers rights’ under the capitalist system and sometimes I’m gonna spend way too long explaining a basketball play.

Whatever it is I’m doing, it’s gonna be me. You all will get a full view of my personality and thought process in a way you can never quite get when I’m analyzing WSU hoops.

So sorry for that, or you’re welcome.

As always,

Go Fuckin’ Cougs.

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