sports editor

From women’s golf beat writer to sports editor, Garrett Callahan has spent the last four years at the Texan. During his time, he wishes he watched rom-coms more often.
Photo Credit: Amy Zhang | Daily Texan Staff

Editor’s note: A 30 column is a chance for departing senior staffers to say farewell and reflect on their time spent in The Daily Texan’s basement office. The term comes from the old typesetting mark (–30–) to denote the end of a line.

Dear 18-year-old Garrett,

Some time in the next few weeks, you’ll stumble upon The Daily Texan.

You’ll walk in the HSM basement and try to pretend you know where you’re going until you timidly ask a stranger, who you now know is a page designer, where the sports office is.

You’ll submit the application the last day it’s due (this won’t change), and, soon, you’ll start your career as a sports writer.

At first, you’ll think that basement is a little strange. You’ll be afraid to go down there, except for the occasional meeting. But, later on in your college career, that basement will become a second home while you’re almost 2,000 miles away from yours.

Take advantage of it early and spend as much time as you can in that basement. Don’t be afraid to walk down on a random Tuesday night, even though you may know one person there. Soon, you’ll find there aren’t many better places to spend your hectic nights.

With the Texan, you’ll learn how to write. And, within a few years, you’ll be covering history. Spoiler alert: You’ll cover Mack Brown’s last game as a coach and Charlie Strong’s inaugural season. Neither went that well.

You’ll cover the end of Rick Barnes’ 17-year career at Texas and Shaka Smart’s quick hiring. 

You’ll be challenged with covering the football beat your junior year — one of the hardest, and most rewarding, things you’ll have to do. As sports editor your senior year, those challenges will only get harder, but, at the same time, even more rewarding.

You’ll work under amazing editors, who will teach you what it means to be a journalist and how to actually do it. And you’ll have some of your best experiences, in and out of the press box, while working at the Texan.

In that basement, you’ll meet and become lifelong friends with people you would have never met otherwise — people who make working a lot easier. Unknowingly, they’ll help you through tough times. 

When you have no motivation, you’ll somehow find it in that basement. Or it will just be a good place to continue procrastinating.

You’ll have a sports staff that is always ready to help and that will fix your mistakes when you make them.  Among other people you'll meet from different departments, they will help make your senior year your best eight months in school.

So, spend as much time as you can at The Daily Texan. It’s really nothing to be afraid of. You’ll realize there wasn’t a better place you could’ve spent your four years at Texas.

Sincerely,

22-year-old Garrett

30

Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

I went 19 years not caring about baseball. I didn’t hate baseball, but I wasn’t a fan either. I just didn’t grow up playing the sport. 

It was only fitting that it would be my first step into The Daily Texan.

Entering my junior year at UT I switched majors from mathematics to journalism.  At the beginning of the semester, I submitted an application for The Daily Texan. I then received an email from the sports editor, Christian Corona. My tryout piece: a review of the Round Rock Express’ season.

Great. Baseball. I know next to nothing about it. 

But I did what a journalist ought to do in this situation: research, learn. I didn’t understand ERA meant or what a good one was. So I looked it up. There was nothing wrong with being behind the curve. If I put effort into learning what certain things meant, I would be in a better position to turn in a decent story.

Fortunately, my work paid off. After tryouts, Christian welcomed me to The Daily Texan. He brought me in to the office and we edited my piece. He was impressed with what I wrote considering I didn’t watch baseball. A few weeks later, I had my first article in the paper. Thanks for the opportunity, Christian.

I have spent the last two years covering the women’s tennis team. What I’ll always remember about going to the matches is not singing the “Eyes of Texas” after each match. As a Longhorn, I wanted to join, but, as a journalist, I had to be neutral. It was awesome, though, to witness Aerial Ellis claim her 100th victory on Senior Day.

I wish I would have gotten to know other staff members better. Aside from staff meetings and reading their stories, I didn’t put enough effort into learning from my fellow Texan writers. 

I did befriend Chris Hummer before I came to the Texan. When we met, it was hard not to like the guy. He always finds a way to connect with everyone he meets, something a journalist should be capable of. We played basketball nearly every other day our sophomore year. When he became the sports editor, Chris took the time to go through my stories and point out what needed work and what looked well. 

My final semester at the Texan has been one of the best at UT. I attended Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s media day after he won the Daytona 500. The tennis team endured one of the nation’s toughest schedules. And I enjoyed Friday afternoon staffsketball. Who knew Shabab had a shot like Kobe or that Mike Brick was such a force in the paint? It was fun playing with everyone who came out. 

As I write this column on my couch, I notice my El Paso Chihuahuas cap on the table. I’m still not a baseball fan, but that cap will serve as a reminder of how I started my career at the Texan.

-30-

Photo Credit: Zachary Strain | Daily Texan Staff

I used to hate that my mom never taught me how to speak Spanish.

She’s fluent, as is most of her side of the family. But my dad isn’t, so it was more convenient for her to talk to both of us in English. When it came time to take foreign language classes, Spanish was an easy choice. 

I’ve learned more Spanish from my grandmother than in any class, but, in my first Spanish class at UT, I did sit behind a tall, goofy, sports-loving guy named Trey. We quickly became friends. 

Shortly after he was hired as a sports editor the next summer, he hired me and put me on the football beat — the biggest beat in the department — despite having only been at the Texan for around two months. No pressure.

But working with Austin Laymance made things so much easier on me. He knew his stuff, was a pleasure to work with and even helped me pick up my first big internship with MLB.com the following summer. 

Covering Texas baseball last spring is still the most fun I’ve had on a beat. Augie Garrido is the quirkiest and most engaging coach on the 40 Acres. It’s not close. Being on that beat with the hard-working, skilled and hilarious Chris Hummer made things even better. 

Trey spent that spring in New York and came back as an assistant managing editor. The Texan needed a sports editor and, for some reason, picked me. I was honored. And naive. 

I spent more time in that wondrous, awful, spectacular, life-changing basement over the next two semesters — last fall and this spring — than I did anywhere else. But it was worth it, thanks to people like Aleks — every time someone calls me “CC,” I still think of him.

It was worth it, thanks to people like Elisabeth and Lawrence, who take the best sports photos you’ll ever see and make 20-hour drives seem like 20-minute trips. Thanks to people like Natasha, who can put together a Double Coverage issue together faster than you can say “Mack Brown.” People like Nick, the only one I know who can make you feel weird for not sticking your head in the ice cream cooler at the gas station. 

People like Nicole, whose time I spent with in the “sports corner” last fall I’ll always treasure. She wrote her -30- column this time last year, but I still consider her my best friend. Why she considers me her best friend is beyond my understanding, but I am grateful.

And I am grateful for all of the people, including those not mentioned here, who made my time at the Texan so memorable. These last two and a half years there have made for one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences of my life.

And, after thinking about it a little longer, I’m also grateful for my mom not teaching me how to speak Spanish as a kid. It all worked out in the end.

-30-

Welcome to Keeping Score, a blog that goes beyond the stat sheets

As sports editor at The Daily Texan for the spring 2011 semester, I've waited a long time for our new website, which officialy launched this past weekend, April 30. Not only is it a great outlet to showcase the work of our fantastic writers here in the sports department but it's also a better representation of all the hard work they put into publishing a great print production each and every day.

On this blog you'll find reaction to games and breaking news, as well as the inside scoop on everything from recruiting to depth chart moves, as well as the some random sports-related musings from myself and the other senior staffers here in the basement of the Texan.

So stay tuned, we've got a lot of great stuff in store for our readers, for the rest of this semester as well as going forward.