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Ziperski: Writing about sports is fun, even when you’re dead wrong!

Columnist Andrew Ziperski reflects on his columns from last year, and discovers that some opinions aren’t evergreen

I joined The Daily in the fall of 2016 as a freshman, originally slated to write a bi-weekly column for the Opinions section. Given the political environment at the time, I thought I’d steer clear of election commentary and focus on what I loved talking about most: sports. It seemed a natural choice for me; growing up, my friends and I spent many more hours than we could ever possibly count debating the ins and outs of the various sports leagues, bouncing hot takes off of each other and waiting to see which silly predictions might come true. And upon coming to college, I figured it was time to take the opportunity to actually publish some of my thoughts.

My time at The Daily has kept me involved in the world of sports at a time when playing competitively is no longer a viable option. My dreams of playing in the NBA were dashed in eighth grade when my own homeroom teacher cut me from the middle school basketball team, and my soccer career ended shortly after that. I ran cross country for a few years in high school … well, “ran” isn’t really the right word. I was technically on the roster. I was actually a pretty good tennis player, though nowhere good enough to play at the collegiate level. Thus, here I am, staying involved with sports by writing my weekly column for you all on the Stanford campus and in the surrounding area.

Putting my ideas out in the public sphere each week has been an incredibly rewarding experience, and it’s also been a lot of fun. I love getting to share my thoughts on the sports world, and I enjoy having people on campus whom I’ve never met approach me to discuss a column I’ve written; The Daily has connected me to my fellow students here at Stanford in a way I never expected. As I begin my junior year, I’ve been reflecting on how fortunate I am to have had this opportunity in the past and to have it going forward.

This past week, I took a look at some of my commentary over the past year and realized how hilariously, unbelievably wrong some of my takes have been. I began 2018 by predicting that the Chiefs would retain Alex Smith in lieu of turning to the unproven Patrick Mahomes and followed it up by declaring that the Steelers’ coach Mike Tomlin would be fired. If you’ve been paying attention, you’d know that Alex Smith is in Washington, Patrick Mahomes is lighting up the NFL and Mike Tomlin is still very much the coach up in Pittsburgh.

Over the past year, I declared that Jim Harbaugh would leave Michigan to reunite with Andrew Luck and coach the Indianapolis Colts. That failed to happen. I wrote about how Bill Belichick would regret trading Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers; Garoppolo currently sits on injured reserve with a torn ACL and didn’t look particularly good to start the year when healthy. I defended Eli Manning. This could very well be Eli’s last year given how putrid the Giants’ offense has been. And I argued that the Cleveland Cavaliers’ front office had made the right roster moves to retain Lebron James. We all saw how that turned out.

None of that is to say that I didn’t come to the right conclusions given the information I had at the time. On top of that, the volatile nature of sports is such that anyone who makes predictions is bound to be wrong sometimes. I was on the money with certain things, but I happened to be wrong … a lot.

Despite all that, writing for The Daily – for all of you – has been a ton of fun. Over the next three quarters, I’ll bring my voice and my thoughts to campus each and every week. Sometimes I’ll be right, and clearly, sometimes I’ll be wrong. Either way, I’m looking forward to a great year.

 

Contact Andrew Ziperski at ajzip’at’stanford.edu.

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