Column: A thank-you to those who made it interesting

Column: A thank-you to those who made it interesting

This was your spot for reading courageous, hard-hitting opinions and dazzling off-the-cuff, contentious commentary, right?

Well hey, I tried, OK?

It is the columnist’s job to entertain and to provide perspective. Better yet, a columnist must make you think or become impassioned. But I can’t do that today. It wouldn’t be right. I’ve delved much too far into the romanticization of sports, the nuances of NCAA hockey and the entrance of former NU athletes into the professional ranks.

I have to break the mold. I can’t follow the rules today. It’s my final piece and my last hurrah.

So what follows is a running thank-you note to the people who made my ride through Northeastern Athletics special.

Sherman Hart, track ‘ field

Thanks, Sherman. You never took me too seriously. You efficiently broke down any sign of a budding ego and made the interviewing experience a natural one, not an unnecessary game of showmanship and self-image.

You’ve never really taken any of us journalists too seriously, have you? You always seem to have the right perspective, even if it’s taking genuinely hilarious potshots at your squad’s lack of effort or deservedly boasting about a hard-earned victory.

Despite all this, you manage to never go overboard in the analysis of your team’s fortunes, or lack thereof. Plus, you’re one of the easiest people to deal with in Northeastern athletics.

No wonder your team usually wins.

Jack Grinold, Sports Information

It’s hard being the umpteenth individual to thank a legend, but I’m taking that role today.

Don’t you love true fans? The ones who never miss a game? The one who rearranges their plans to account for their season tickets, their club soccer game or their child’s youth tournament? Doesn’t it seem like they know everything about commitment and usually have the right standpoint on most things in life?

Grinold is all that and more. In many ways our associate athletic director for communications is the face of Northeastern athletics, having been our truest fan for decades. He puts a smile on all our faces. Lucky for me, I was the latest to pass through NU during his venerable tenure.

Bruce Crowder and Greg Cronin, men’s hockey

Crowder was the coach when I first started covering hockey and Cronin took over soon after. They may have been opposites in their dealings with the media and in personality, but one thing held true and always will for their position: they’re in charge of the most visible team on campus.

That makes a compelling job for the reporter assigned to the team. It also makes me appreciate how courteous and open they could be about the status of their team. Crowder was a calmer, more reserved influence. Cronin, a fiery, more outgoing mentor.

In either case, after all the fuss of direction of sports teams and struggles for relevance in Northeastern athletics, they both accomplished the most important thing of all: they made things interesting.

Jon Litchfield, Sports Information

Do you know Jon? It’s OK if you don’t. He wouldn’t care. He’s usually busy creating content for you to read on, tracking the statistics you live and die by or generally doing everything he can to make your role as a Northeastern fan easier and more enjoyable.

He’s quickly established himself as a go-to guy, even if it often revolves around an all-guts and no glory kind of profession.

Rocky Hager, football

Rocky had the difficult job of taking over a Northeastern program still abuzz with the controversial exit of a coach who was arguably its most accomplished ever.

He had to re-establish himself as the face of Don Brown’s roster and he did that quickly, even if the team has been struggling as of late. You see, it’s hard not to like Rocky. He’s overflowing with viewpoints and knowledge and you can tell right away that he works hard.

Well Rocky, it’s your team now.

The athletes

They come and go, hoping to leave a mark or have a shot at glory, even if it’s as brief as one game. I thank the individuals who entertained us all, the ones we’ll remember for a long time as the athletes who defined our school while we roamed the campus.

Hockey’s Jason Guerriero, fast with the puck and even quicker to make a pass. He was truly entertaining on the ice. Basketball’s Jose Juan Barea, who brought star power to Huntington Avenue and still does, even as he makes his way across the country’s NBA roadmap. Baseball’s Adam Ottavino, a power pitcher and a strikeout king. He made us remember that Parsons Field isn’t just open in the fall.

And even though this column was only every other week for just one academic year, it was a ride well worth taking. After all, interest in our Huskies (and sports in general) never really ends, does it?

– Jeff Powalisz can be reached for comment at [email protected]

Leave a Reply