After four years, a Canadian leaves the Texan with fond memories

Stefan Scrafield

I knew I brought my winter jacket to Austin for a reason.

Coming from Winnipeg, Manitoba — the coldest major city in the world — I wasn’t ready to scratch the down-lined peacoat from my wardrobe. My parents told me I was crazy; what use would I have for such a thing in the South?

Sure enough, it spent the first six months collecting dust and wasting valuable space in my puny Jester dorm room. But on a frigid evening in late January 2011, that long black jacket was just what I needed to stay warm in a surprisingly cold hockey rink.

I met up with a photographer I’d never see again and hopped on a CapMetro bus heading for Chaparral Ice that night. I needed a story for my Daily Texan tryout piece, and the Longhorn club hockey team had an interesting one to tell.

I had spent a couple weeks on the team when I first arrived at Texas and had a chance to meet the inspiring Coach White, who was battling cancer. I didn’t end up playing on the squad, but, a few months later when I needed an angle, he was the first man who came to mind. I wrote the story and got the job.

My work at the rink earned me a gig at the pool, where I covered women’s swimming and diving in my first semester at the Texan. I worked alongside Lauren Giudice, who was covering the men’s team, and together we learned what it meant to be a beat writer.

I returned in the fall and spent a couple weeks covering women’s golf before I got a call from my editor, Trey Scott: “Wanna cover women’s basketball?” Before I knew it I was in the bowels of the Frank Erwin Center, covering women’s hoops alongside Nick Cremona. Nothing was more entertaining than two hours on press row with Mr. Cremona.

I returned to the Texan as a junior and worked with Chris Hummer as his associate sports editor. That fall, Chris and I had the opportunity to work with a phenomenal staff and watch Rick Barnes resurrect his career on the men’s basketball beat.

On New Years Eve, I received an email from our managing editor, Shabab Siddiqui, notifying me that I’d been selected as the sports editor for the spring. And what a spring it would be.

I spent the majority of my semester in the infamous Texan basement, fighting with Shabab and associate managing editor Elisabeth Dillon for an extra couple of inches. In the words of Al Pacino, “We claw with our fingernails for that inch.”

When I wasn’t in the cellar, I was on the road, driving through the night to see Texas play Kansas at “The Phog” or watch Augie Garrido lead his Longhorns to the brink of the College World Series finals in Omaha, only to lose on an infield single.

In my final semester, I’ve had the opportunity to fulfill a childhood dream and cover the Longhorn football team. I was also fortunate enough to serve as editor of Double Coverage this fall, and our hard-working staff made it the most rewarding experience of my college career.

I’m glad I came to Texas, I’m glad I covered the Longhorns, and I’m glad I brought my jacket.