Swing and a Miss

Spectator staffer/student stunned, silenced by shocking sports situation

Thomas DeLapp

More stories from Thomas DeLapp

Swing and a Miss
May 10, 2023

Photo by Marisa Valdez

As spring skips back into the world, I find myself faced with my fifth — and final — semester at this lovely newspaper, The Spectator. What a beautiful time I’ve had. 

But there’s something off about this semester.

It isn’t just that I haven’t seen any Kiwibots yet (where are they? What are they planning?) or that I’m about to graduate and face a very scary world outside of Eau Claire. No, there’s something far more sinister happening.

Look at the top of this article. It says: Thomas DeLapp, Sports Editor. “Cool,” you might say to yourself, “a position of leadership.” You could validate me if you wanted by saying “I’m proud of him. Way to go, Thomas,” but I won’t make you. 

Here’s the problem: I know next to nothing about sports.

Maybe this is a cruel joke being played on me by the mustachioed-forces-in-power at The Spectator, but I must be honest. I brought this on myself. Luckily, this gig is more about the “editor” bit and not as much the “sports” bit. 

Still, I feel a due diligence as Sports Editor to enter this wide world of sports and figure things out for myself. How can I assign sports stories to our writers if I don’t even know what the referees mean when they wave their arms around, or what the heck an RBI is?

I’m going to do my best to learn, but in Swing and a Miss, I will inevitably not learn anything. For this first go, let’s do a rundown of Sports Editor Thomas’ Sports Experience:

When I was young, I pretended to like football because all my friends liked football. I still can’t tell you the difference between a linebacker and a fullback ( I’m pretty sure they both tackle people), but I cheered on the Vikings as they lost anyway. Jared Allen and Adrian Peterson were my heroes (obviously that didn’t age well).

I keep my preschool tee ball bat by my bed in case I need to defend myself from burglars. It was hard for me in preschool to hit the ball off the tee, so I don’t know why I have the confidence to think I could defeat an intruder now. 

I played soccer at the YMCA in kindergarten, and I was placed on “Team England.” We wore red t-shirts.  I threw a tantrum and quit when I was told I couldn’t be the goalie. Even kindergarten Thomas hated having to run. 

Kindergarten Thomas [AND] Adult Thomas are much more of the “sit quietly and read” type. But I’ll take a jog every once in a while during the summer, and I lifted a bit before I moved too far away from my gym. So I’m not a total athletic dunce, just most of an athletic dunce.

As fate would have it, halfway through writing this article, I found out the Super Bowl is this weekend. Apparently, the Super Bowl is a “big deal” for football fans. Obviously, this changes my weekend plans — now I have to find something to do on Sunday night so I have an excuse to stay away from the sports. 

Update — I’m now writing on Monday morning, having successfully avoided the Super Bowl. Of course, I still listened to Rihanna. I don’t think it was a good idea to sing Kanye’s All of the Lights, though, sorry RiRi. Sometimes we all swing and miss. 

DeLapp can be reached at [email protected]