Lanthorn sports writers reflect on time covering GVSU athletics

Beau Troutman — Sports editor

My first interview for the Lanthorn was with the adviser for the club cricket team at the Bitter End Coffeehouse in Grand Rapids. That was sometime in June of 2015.

Now, in two weeks, my status as college student will change to college graduate (hopefully, anyway).

I remember that interview like it was yesterday: I, the aspiring sports writer on his first assignment, was diving in head first into the intricacies of cricket—how is it played? Who started the club? How do you recruit members? What is a wicket?

The adviser enthusiastically filled me in on the details over the sound of Frank Sinatra playing on the speakers and the aroma of coffee in the air. That sounds cheesy as Hell, but I can’t help but be nostalgic and gushy about that moment. It was my first time as a real “journalist.”

I’ve covered many different sports for the Lanthorn. I’ve been to Baltimore and Canada for this job. I’ve edited many stories. I’ve missed a few deadlines. And now it’s done.

Covering GVSU athletics was a privilege. GVSU has a nationally recognized football team, and I was given exclusive access to it. We got a monolith-sized video board in Lubbers Stadium my senior year. I got to watch Martayveus Carter run for long touchdowns and Bart Williams throw bombs to Urston Smith over the backdrop of Laker Nation’s cheers. The best part? I was paid to do this.

Football gets all the attention. Club or varsity, all of GVSU’s sports teams were always willing to talk. Everyone was a class act. Week in and week out, people saw the recaps and feature stories in the sports section. What they didn’t see was all of the funny moments—the off-the-record moments. I’ve seen coaches cry. I’ve seen a coach break a binder. I stole free food with a tennis player’s parent one time. That doesn’t makes sense. It did at the time.

The players always say in interviews how the moments they’ll miss most are the ones in between games on the team bus, the locker room, or study tables. I see what they mean now.

So here’s what I’m saying: It doesn’t matter what profession you’re in. Maybe you’re an engineering student reading this. Doesn’t matter. Just live for the moment. Enjoy college if you’ve still got a few years left. That 8 a.m. class? Show up an hour late. That test you have tomorrow? A ‘B’ will suffice.

Because when it’s all said and done, and when it’s time to move on with life, the thing you’re going to remember most is the interview with the cricket team guy in a coffee shop just a few years ago.

Josh Peick — Assistant sports editor

Where did the time go? It felt like just yesterday I was covering my first event, a men’s club soccer weekend series against Central Michigan and Michigan State. GVSU won the first game before losing a heartbreaker against the Spartans. I remember walking over to talk with the coach and players, nervous about asking questions after a loss. To my surprise everyone was happy to be interviewed, a common theme through my two years working for the Lanthorn.

Working as a sports reporter gave me a behind-the-scenes look into a Division II athletics powerhouse. I have covered everything from baseball to the dance team to women’s basketball and quidditch club. I have covered two Final Four teams and a national runner-up. After driving every weekend to the Georgetown Ice Arena to cover club hockey, traveling to Kansas City for the women’s soccer national championship was a change of pace. From attending a free concert to eating barbeque every day, the trip was worth the 12-hour drive through the night to arrive at my house at 6 a.m. with only Ramen in my pantry.

The experiences working for the Lanthorn will be times that I will never forget. Becoming close with the athletes and coworkers was more than worth giving up my weekends and nights to finish my stories at the last possible second before deadline no matter how much time I had to finish it.

Like this column, which I finished well past deadline. You’re welcome Beau.

Jacob Arvidson — Staff writer

When I was assigned to the track and field beat at the beginning of the 2016 winter semester, I was very excited. I had participated in the sport as a senior in high school and felt I had enough knowledge to attempt to relate with the GVSU athletes.

Sitting through long meets which, at a minimum, last at least five or six hours, wasn’t always the most riveting part of the job, but it comes with its perks. I can’t affirm this with 100 percent certainty, but I’d like to think over time the athletes and coaches noticed my dedication and gave me extra respect that I otherwise would not have earned. The smile or the shouts for joy when an athlete does something spectacular isn’t something that shows up on the stat sheet. I was lucky enough to witness many of those reactions and could ask the athletes about a specific reaction, having been a part of the moment myself.

GVSU head coach Jerry Baltes has turned the Laker program into a Division II powerhouse. In my time covering them, the men’s and women’s teams seemed to always be top-five in the nation. Being able to talk to the coaches and athletes who are nationally recognized is something I’ll never forget, but being able to develop a personal relationship with many of them was even more special.

Spending Saturday afternoons and evenings during the winter and spring combing through results isn’t something I’ll miss, but giving the numerous athletes and coaches the attention they deserve is something I’ll miss greatly. Track and field doesn’t always get a lot of attention and I took a lot of pride in trying to bring them the attention I feel they deserve. Yes, it’s my beat, so I’m going to be slightly biased, but when multiple athletes graduate your program and head to the Olympic trials, I think you deserve some recognition.