30: Sports editor: Don’t judge basement by cover

Tyler Horka

I walked down the musky, water-logged steps that lead to The Daily Texan basement for the last time as the sports editor of our storied publication last night. 

Wait, maybe I didn’t. But maybe I did — I don’t quite know. 

What I do know, however, is that for the first time since joining the Texan five semesters ago, I’m not certain if my future includes the soggy stairs and confines of the beloved basement. 

I joined the Texan in the spring semester of my freshman year. I still remember the first time former Texan sports editor Garrett Callahan led me down that all-too-familiar staircase, and I can say this for sure: I wasn’t thrilled about the prospect of calling that underground chamber my workplace. 

I expected the office of one of the largest student newspapers in the nation to be a bit more lavish and much more, well, welcoming. 

Little did I know that I’d end up spending most of my nights there, and I couldn’t be more grateful. I could count the number of times I entered the office during my freshman year on one hand. As a junior, it’d be much easier to count the days I didn’t trot down the squashy steps. 

In less than two years’ time, I realized it’s not all about where someone works and what the building looks like. It’s more about who works there with you and what those people are like. And let me tell you — the Texan has some of the best people you’ll ever meet. 

Former sports editor Jori Epstein gave me my first big break down in the Sports Department. She told me I’d be covering women’s basketball. As someone who didn’t get a single byline in the paper until a few weeks prior, I was ecstatic. 

After a few months of reporting on one of the best women’s basketball teams the entire nation had to offer during the 2015-2016 season, former sports editor Jacob Martella’s email popped up on my phone during winter break. 

“Hey Dad, I just made senior staff at the Texan!” I yelled down the stairs. The rest is history. 

Without the Texan, I wouldn’t have any “Office Ping Pong Tournament Champion” titles to my name (thanks for going easy on me Peter). Without the Texan, I wouldn’t be qualified for the many internships that might keep me away from the office for good if I’m to lock them down. 

Without the Texan, I wouldn’t have traveled to all 12 Texas football games last season. Without the Texan, I wouldn’t have enough people to share absurd amounts of Tiff’s Treats with after I got off my late night shifts. Without the Texan, I wouldn’t have met some of my best friends in this great life. 

Fluctuating between informative mentor and compatible companion, Akshay Mirchandani has transformed from just another co-worker to someone who will be there to watch my future bride walk down the aisle. 

Trenton Daeschner will be there too, and you’ll probably find us knocking a few balls around a golf course or going head-to-head in ping pong many times between now and then. 

No, I’m not sure if I’ll walk down those steps as a Texan employee ever again. But I do know that the people I’m walking out with are here to stay.