Pool: For me, taking sports editor position was dream come true
I was beyond nervous. I wanted that chair.All I had ever wanted to do was write an article in The Dickinson Press. I was a junior in high school, and while playing football, basketball and golf for Heart River in Belfield, The Dickinson Press was...
I was beyond nervous. I wanted that chair.
All I had ever wanted to do was write an article in The Dickinson Press. I was a junior in high school, and while playing football, basketball and golf for Heart River in Belfield, The Dickinson Press was such a staple for this region in the sports world. There’s nothing close to professional teams this side of the Missouri River, let alone in this state, and there are no television stations either.
So when I delivered the paper to the people of Belfield, for which I earned my first paycheck, I felt like the most important elementary kid in town. Every single time my name ever made one of those box scores, my mom cut it out and stuck it to our fridge. It was special to my family - even if my dad, former Heart River volleyball head coach Craig Pool, seemed to get calls from the sports editor every other week.
This newspaper meant a lot to me, to Belfield and to southwest North Dakota. So when I walked into The Press’ office for the first time, my heart was palpitating. I was meeting then sports editor Dustin Monke to talk about an internship opportunity.
If I didn’t make myself look like an idiot, I might get to write for The Dickinson Press.
I knew my 185-pound body wouldn’t cut it for college football and my 6-foot-1 frame wouldn’t quite be enough to be a college basketball player, but since third grade I knew I could entertain through the written word and I could tell a story from a keyboard.
So I sat at Monke’s desk nervous yet confident. Thinking that I might just be lucky to be a coffee boy, he talked about the job and what I might write about.
But all I could think about was that chair the sports editor sat in. All I ever wanted was that chair and I was going to give everything I had to work myself to that chair.
Sports editor had a nice ring to it. I could see myself sitting in that chair so clearly.
That summer, I was lucky enough to write a couple articles. I’ll still never forget my first byline, but I’ll also never forget how it took me three hours to write the thing.
I’ve since written a story in about 20 minutes, to give you an idea as to how slow I once was with my writing.
After my first story, I remember texting a friend to give me five years and I would take Monke’s job, the thought so ludicrous of course I was joking.
After my senior year and finishing my bachelor’s degree in three years, I was offered this job - this privilege - just four years later at 21 years old.
Even as a I write this, I can’t help but laugh and think about how far my life has come, how much I’ve gotten to do and how many further opportunities have opened up for me because of this place and you, the readers, for caring enough to take a glimpse at what I write. Writing about you and to you - the athletes, coaches, parents and supporters - was something I took so seriously because I knew how much it meant. I remember that same feeling of seeing my name and my teammates in this paper that I hope you felt seeing this generation of athletes compete and be recognized for it.
No matter how many times I fell short, believe me, it wasn’t because I slacked off. My family and this area taught me differently.
I did my best to make this product the best it can be, and I followed in some very tough shoes. Royal McGregor and Monke went above, beyond and further for this job, and I learned through mistakes how to give you the sports news like they did. But unlike many jobs, as soon as I left this chair and got home at midnight every night, I couldn’t fix my mistakes.
This job was so much more demanding than that high school junior from Belfield could have dreamt. I went from writing one article in three hours to writing five and designing pages in that same amount of time. When McGregor left right before the school year, I had interned and worked here full-time for a combined nine months, so I felt ready to tackle the football season.
As the great Yoda would’ve said, “Much to learn you still have.”
So I worked from 3 p.m. to midnight Monday to Saturday to do my best to bring recognition to this area. I know I how much it meant.
But with numerous loved ones in Fargo, I’ve taken a job to be a sports reporter for The West Fargo Pioneer. I only hope to make that blooming publication half as special as this one is.
Parker Cotton, who joined me as my fellow sports guy before the football season, who has a hang of this way more than I did nine months ago, will be the new sports editor. I don’t have a doubt in my mind The Press sports section will thrive with him at the helm.
I sure wouldn’t leave this chair any other way.