My chair, my desk and my past

My chair is crooked, and the seat cushion is stained with years of ass sweat. It probably smells, but I’m so used to it I’ve become immune. My desk is empty, other than the desktop I never touch and the calendar I never flip.

Photo by Pete Nakos

On my right is a barren desk of cluttered paper, filled with previous newspapers and miscellaneous papers that should’ve been disposed of weeks ago. On my left is a bulletin board packed with engaging pictures and fascinating stories, but most of the items are old. Nothing noteworthy has happened recently.

As for the inside of my desk, it doesn’t get anymore excited. Other than the dirty mugs and South African teabags, the only tenants are charger wires, a blue pen and a handful of my business cards. Are you hiring?

This is the newsroom, and this desk and chair are supposed to be coveted by The Post Sports Editor. That’s me.

It’s a strange position. For every optimistic and promising moment on my staff, there are a dozen other stories that I’d like to forget. I’ve had good moments here — four years of hard work to improve my dream of being a professional sportswriter.

I’ve had late nights that have spilled well past early mornings. I’ve watched friends come and graduate, only for a new batch of freshman to come in and try to make an impression.

A lot of times, that sucks.

But the constant transitioning has propelled me to the top. And for better or worse, I’m midway through my second year overseeing the best sports staff of any student media outlet at Ohio University, and maybe even the state.

The thing about growth, at least in this newsroom, is the constant requirement to change and adapt. Sure, writing well is important, but what about filming and editing my own video off my phone? What about the podcast I need to produce later tonight after I write my basketball game story. Oh, and I forgot I still need to meet with the executives to find a time for plan a new radio show.

This keeps me busy. Keeping busy is nice, but sometimes it’s easy to slip behind — either in writing or in class — and suddenly feel as though I’m suffocating to survive. Three weeks in and already needing a Reading Day is hardly an indication that life is going swimmingly.

Yet I keep coming back to this chair. This desk. This stuffy newsroom with no jaded faces and no windows. I’ve grown and matured a lot the past three years. Perhaps the easiest way to see that comes from daily trips to my newsroom desk.

Daily, not much changes. Our stories still seem subpar and I still feel like I’m falling behind in class.

But the mood is changing.

I’m a few weeks away from a fresh start, where daily budget meetings to discuss indoor track and field previews disappear and pay stubs and loans start to matter.

I’m looking forward to that. My current view — my reflection on the dusty desktop screen — has long lost is lure.