An athlete by trade, I found sportswriting during my junior year of high school. The assignment: Write an essay about something that defines you. What I wrote about: Baseball. At that point I thought I wanted to be a neuroscientist—thank goodness I was worthless in chemistry. I grew up a fan of the Yankees as my parents are both New Yorkers (my father went to the famous Mr. October game), but in high school I decided to permanently convert to the Phillies—best decision I ever made. Yes, we're debatably the most obnoxious fans in professional sports. But can you blame us? We've got a chip on our shoulder. I'm aware that the Phillies won in '08. But other than that fateful two-parter, us Philadelphians are used to getting our hopes up—soaring above the clouds—only to have them crushed. People wonder why I came to Columbia for college—generally its sports are abyssmal. But look a little deeper and its trends are nearly identical to those of Philly teams: so much potential...wasted. That being said, it has helped me grow a thick skin. Many-at-time I've had to interview coaches after devastating losses. Who do they take their frustrations out on? The annoying gnat of a reporter shoving a recorder down their throats, that's who. But I love it. I soak it in.