Swing and a Miss

Running away from graduation

Thomas DeLapp

More stories from Thomas DeLapp

Swing and a Miss
May 2, 2023

Photo by Marisa Valdez

Well folks, the day is at last here. The last Swing and a Miss — and, for that matter, my last article as Sports Editor of this fine journalistic institution. And my last article for The Spectator, ever.  

If I was any good at writing, I’d have some perfectly planned, cutting edge sports analysis to bring you, something that wraps this tumultuous column up and slaps a bow on top. Too bad I don’t. Nay, reader, I’m terrible at endings, and this is a fourth-quarter article. 

In the beginning, I was bumbling, confused and barely knew the difference between baseball and softball. Throughout my time as Sports Editor, though, I’ve learned quite a lot. Softball uses yellow balls. And they’re bigger. 

Although we already have a stellar column dedicated to the ways we personally stay healthy, Athlete Students, I can never stop myself from including personal anecdotes in these articles. I think that’s fine — the best sports commentators do too: Shaq, Charles Barkley, Stephen A Smith (these are all the sports commentators I know) all weave their lives and experiences into their commentary.

Usually, the most sporting I get up to is just a vigorous game of Mario Tennis Aces in my living room. But I run a little bit, mostly away from things. It’s a good tool for procrastination. Running, in my estimation, is a key factor in most sports. You kinda have to do it if you want to play.

In the same vein — although it’s not always organized as a spectator sport — running is the most popular sport in the world. I hate it, honestly.

Running sucks. I’m convinced no one actually likes it. But it’s accessible, it’s a cheap way to stay healthy and if you get really good at it, you can actually compete. I don’t think I’ll ever do a marathon — I hope I never do a marathon — or try to race people, but a nice little jog is bearable enough.

My roommate is a runner, and that’s a good motivator for me to also hit the sidewalks. There’s a bit of a difference between us, though: while he’ll get out and run a casual 11 miles, it’s a matter of life and death for me to finish a mile and a half. 

To motivate myself to run, last year I bought myself a pair of HOKAs — expensive (for me) running shoes. My thought process was this: if I spend a lot of money on the shoes, then I will have to run, otherwise I’ll feel guilty about not using the expensive shoes.

It worked, kinda. Probably not the healthiest strategy, but it did get me running. Not nearly as much as I’d like — I fell out of habit pretty hard — but it was the first step.

Of course, professional, athletic running goes hard in the paint (sports reference), and if I happen to be watching the summer Olympics, those events are often what I’m drawn to. The sprints are incredibly exciting. That seems to be the most a human can push their body to perform, plus, being really fast is cool. 

While I won’t have this column to document my journey towards becoming the next Usain Bolt, rest assured, dear reader, I am well on my way. Or maybe I’ll just stick to Mario Tennis.

Happy trails, sports fans.

DeLapp can be reached at [email protected].