KAPALKO: All the world’s a stage, and its columnists …

Jamie Kapalko

(Fade in. A social gathering on West Campus. The author knows almost no one here but has been convinced to attend by a friend, who is deep in conversation with Chem Classmate No. 1 on the couch. The author stands uncomfortably in the corner talking to Male Stranger No. 12. The conversation has reached the awkward point where its participants have resorted to discussing majors and extracurricular activities because they have nothing in common but don’t have a good excuse to walk away.)

AUTHOR: I write for The Villanovan.

No. 12: (feigning interest) Oh, really? What do you write?

AUTHOR: Sports columns.

No. 12: (raising eyebrows) You write sports columns? But you’re a girl!

AUTHOR: How observant. (stepping to center stage, the lights dim and everyone else freezes. A spotlight appears on the author.) In my first year writing for The Villanovan, I’ve had this conversation more than you would probably expect. Women running for president? Fine. Female CEOs of major corporations? Sure. But a girl writing sports columns for The Villanovan?! Unheard of, according to dozens of people I’ve encountered.

(The lights turn on and people resume movement.)

No. 12: But how do you know enough about sports to write about them?!

(The author looks off into the distance. The scene turns to a flashback, signified by the faded pink “Saved by the Bell”- style edges. Don’t question it. I’m writing this article, and I said so. Various images cross the screen.

The author at age two, covered in dirt from head to toe from spending the entire day at a slow-pitch softball tournament, chews on a stick as her father drives away from the field. His alert teammate notices the forgotten child and flags him down before he drives home and realizes, “Cleats, check. Bat, check. Daughter … oops.”

The author at age seven, face painted like a bright orange basketball, sits on the bench every game all season as her father coaches his team of current and former college and NBA players to a summer league championship. These are the tallest human beings she has ever encountered; if she looks straight up, she can almost see their faces.

The author at age 10 makes her first visit to Yankee Stadium because it is Beanie Baby Day and she is an avid collector. David Wells pitches a perfect game. This, while wonderful, is a problem. It’s like eating perfectly cooked filet mignon for a first meal, or experiencing Villanova for the first time on NovaFest weekend; after that, nothing quite measures up.

The author at age 15 decides to sacrifice any semblance of a normal social life during the summer in exchange for marathon car rides to softball tournaments in the middle of nowhere every week. This is the best decision of the author’s life. The author falls in love for the first time – with a sport. She makes the same decision every summer for the next three years, making the summer of 2007 her first “real” summer – with a job and without odd sock tan lines – since middle school. Do not bring this up to the author. She will probably cry.

Flashback ends.)

AUTHOR: I don’t know. I grew up surrounded by sports. I’ve always been into them, I guess.

No. 12: So what do you write about? Game reports and stuff?

(The author smiles to herself. There was the article about obnoxious fans, in which she bashed the brats at a high school near her hometown. Many of these brats now attend Villanova, and a few of them were more than happy to heckle her with renditions of their alma mater’s chants every time they saw her for weeks. There was the article chronicling the events on the sports calendar, which required several hours of Googling and Wikipedia-ing, and which garnered several e-mails from upset golf fans offended that she forgot the Masters. There was the cricket article, to which she dedicated much more Googling and Wikipedia-ing, because she actually knows nothing about cricket. Villanova’s die-hard cricket fans came out of the woodwork after that one with their e-mails. Really. I’m not kidding. There was the article about Wing Bowl, for which Mendel Doug has yet to forgive her. For the record, it was not intended to portray Doug in a negative light at all, as his Wing Bowl efforts were both enthusiastic and admirable. So, Doug? If you’re reading this, please stop yelling at me every time you see me.)

AUTHOR: It actually gets a little more exciting than that.

No. 12: So I get that you’re into sports, but why do you like writing about them?

AUTHOR: Well, I like the way writing lets me try to capture the emotions and memories and experiences of sports in something concrete. I can share my love for sports with other people, and I can look back and reread what I write later and feel like I’m there again. Sports are incredibly powerful. Personally, they’ve shaped me more than probably anything else in my life. Socially and culturally, they have a huge impact. There’s so much more to a game than just a box score. That’s why I like to write.

No. 12: (eyes beginning to glaze over from boredom) I think I heard my friend call my name. I’m gonna go in the other room.

(The author stands alone in the corner, even more awkwardly than before. “He thinks I’m weird,” she thinks. “Rambling about sports writing. Oh well, the year’s pretty much over. I don’t have to see him again.” Until next year … Fade out.)


Jamie Kapalko is a sophomore English major from Belmar, N.J. She can be reached at [email protected]