COLUMN: Words draw power to sports

first_imgIt’s hard to believe that this is actually my last column as sports editor of this publication. For the past year, I’ve had the privilege of fully immersing myself in USC athletics, and time sure does fly when you’re having fun.Going into last January, I remember saying that I wanted my tenure as sports editor to be as intriguing as possible, and now that it’s almost over, I realize that’s exactly what I got and more.I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly from the majority of the 21 intercollegiate sports that USC has to offer. Women’s sand volleyball notching a perfect season on their way to a national title, the football program capturing one of the nation’s best recruiting classes and baseball returning to the postseason for the first time in a decade were a few of the positive highlights that I had the fortune of seeing firsthand last spring.Then came the storm of the fall, which has already featured a 22-match winning streak by the No. 1-ranked women’s volleyball team, a thrilling NCAA tournament game win on penalty kicks by women’s soccer and the mid-season revival of the football team under the leadership of interim head coach Clay Helton. I don’t want to get too ahead of myself, but a Pac-12 Championship game would truly be the icing on the cake.Last but not least, a copy of the Oct. 13 issue of the DT hangs in the sports office. In bold, the headline on the front page reads “Coach Steve Sarkisian fired.”  Every time, I take a glance at the front page, it brings back memories of a story within the story. On the surface, the story discusses the termination of Sarkisian, just a day after he was asked by Athletic Director Pat Haden to take a leave of absence for health reasons that turned out to derive from alleged alcoholism. Putting my journalistic duties aside, though, I saw a man whose life unraveled publicly in the most unfortunate of ways.Something I’ve always considered when writing is that student-athletes, coaches and administrators are all human, too. For that reason, I never wanted to be the one that absolutely bashed a coach or dug up dirt on a group of players. First and foremost, I always aimed to maintain my integrity and relationships, whether that be with coaches, players or sports information directors.Call it a learning experience, but I just look back at all of the mistakes I’ve made during my time as sports editor. I’ve misspelled words, messed up headlines, misidentified players in photos and made a few inaccurate predictions here and there. As a perfectionist, those errors always killed me. In effect, I owned up to those missteps and took the criticism, whether it be in public or private, just like any coach or player would if they made a wrong decision or played poorly. But at the end of the day, we move on because there’s almost always another game to be played in the near future or, in my case, another paper to be put out the next day.There’s no doubt in my mind that this position has helped me grow into the person I am today. The sports section has taught me so much, both internally and externally.I’m just hoping that when someone picked up the paper each day, or read online or on social media, they learned something new or were moved by a certain story, thought or opinion.The great amount of power sports carry is indisputable, but words only further strengthen them and have the ability to bring them to life in ways one could never imagine. That’s what I’ve been trying to accomplish when I put my head down and start pitching stories, writing or editing every day.I ‘ve got a couple issues left, but I just wanted to take the time to say thank you.Thank you to all of the student-athletes, coaches, sports information directors, athletic department administrators, mentors and, last but not least, my writers. Without y’all, this section wouln’t be possible.It may sound like I’m about to sign off for the last time, but don’t worry, I’ll be back. It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later.Darian Nourian is a senior majoring in print and digital journalism. He is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. His column, “Persian Persuasion,” ran Fridays.last_img read more

Clippers hope to avoid another slow start to season

first_imgThe Clippers are a week into that process now, seemingly looking more organized in workouts, more focused and more efficient — all things that could point to a good November.A better start could mean more wins, which could mean a better seeding and a better chance to get to the first NBA Finals in franchise history. A four-game winning streak to start last season was quickly offset when the Clippers proceeded to go 12-13 over the next 25 games.Their defense was a mess, the revamped pick-and-roll coverage still looking foreign as the Clippers allowed 100 points or more in 11 of those losses. Offensively, the Clippers were scoring points, but they weren’t in a great rhythm, looking like a team tired of the 82-game regular-season grind.“Last year, we kind of had a (expletive) start to the season and were playing catch up till the All-Star break,” Austin Rivers said earlier in training camp this fall.It’s something the Clippers hope they can avoid this season. Unlike last year, the Clippers aren’t making any major changes to their offensive or defensive philosophies. They have more continuity than all but four teams in the league this season, returning their starting lineup and four reserves.“It’s been a really smooth camp,” Doc Rivers said — something he’s repeated. “Guys are picking up stuff pretty quickly. We haven’t put in as much, I’d say that. But, we’re ahead because of what we’ve put in; we have a pretty good understanding of what we’re trying to do.”Chris Paul said the team came through the early part of camp meeting his expectations.“I feel like our camp was very efficient,” Paul said Monday. “Obviously we don’t know the rotation, what guys are going to be there and stuff like that, but I think we’re figuring it out. … (We’re) maybe even ahead a little bit just because we sort of knew what’s worked in the past.”And, they know what doesn’t work when it comes to getting out of the gates.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more