A little more than four years ago, while cruising down PCH with my mother and sister, I got my first glimpse of it. The scene was set: sun shining, wind blowing, ocean on the horizon. The beauty of Mother Nature around me complemented the allure of what sat right in front of me — a fresh copy of the Daily Trojan. Its texture, its scent and most significantly, its content reeled me in the very moment we met back in what seemed like simpler times — my mom still had to sign my permission slips.
After browsing through different columns, stories and photos in the DT, I knew that this was something that I wanted to do. More than a hundred bylines later — it’s pretty easy to lose count — I’m publishing my last words in this publication that has meant so much to me. The Daily Trojan is one of the main reasons I decided to come to USC and it’s also why it is so hard to let go and say goodbye.
From my time as a sports writer to sports editor to columnist, I’ve had my fair share of memorable moments, both on and off the page. The best part about writing is that it allows those moments to come to life.
Whether I was writing a story in the middle of the night or pulling my hair in the newsroom because the basketball game was headed into its fourth overtime while on deadline, I’m lucky to be able to go back, find the headline and say, ”Oh yeah, I remember that.” Regardless of how good, bad or ugly the circumstances, I’m pretty sure I almost always had a smile on my face while writing and editing for the DT, mainly because I loved what I was doing.
I’ve been blessed to be able to have this platform at my disposal at least once a week for the past three years, and its value shouldn’t be taken for granted. It has the power to share people’s stories, catalyze change and start dialogue about important issues both on our campus and around the world. From what I’ve learned, words are never greater than sports themselves, but they do possess the capacity to draw awareness — to a sport, an athlete or an overarching theme.
With great power also comes great responsibility that many of my readers, time and time again, held me accountable for, providing me with a variety of funny stories and learning experiences along the way. I’ve been publicly called names and slurs. I’ve been blatantly told that my opinions or predictions were erroneous. I’ve even received death threats— thanks to O.J. Simpson, ironically.
I’m human and I’ve been wrong, sometimes very wrong. The 2015 Stanford football team is responsible for that one, but right or wrong, I never stopped coming back, putting my head down and getting back to writing the next day.
It’s cliche, but you get out what you put into an experience, and I threw down almost all of my marbles. Hours of writing and editing, laying out pages in the newsroom, conducting interviews, sending e-mails to Sports Information directors: It all surely adds up over time. My friends always asked me why I was inflicting all of this responsibility on myself, and I think I’ve finally found an answer for them.
You see, the DT is a lot like that clingy significant other. As hard as you try to get rid of them or spend time apart, they keep managing to find ways to stay with you. I couldn’t get away from the DT. From the plains of rural Indiana to the “Windy City” to the beaches of Orange County, it was always there, so naturally, I did everything I could to keep it happy. Sometimes that required writing on my phone at the Lakers’ game, ditching class to cover a press conference, or working on a breaking news story on a bus filled with a bunch of fraternity drunkards. As we prepare to actually part ways for real now, though, I look back and know that it was all worth it.
There’s so much I’m going to miss. There are the media scrums with one of four head football coaches, who were hired or fired at what seemed like the most inopportune times. There’s the Pac-12 after dark, AKA 8 p.m. basketball games that allowed me to flirt with deadlines. Finally, there’s the coaches, student-athletes and Sports Information directors who I’ve had the great privilege of working with and learning more about over the years.
From my first interview with former women’s basketball coach Michael Cooper, to my last one with Athletic Director Pat Haden, and everything in between, it’s been quite the ride.
Words are powerless to express my gratitude to all of them, and not to forget, to each and every person who took time out of their day to read one of my stories or columns: I hope I didn’t let you down.
Last but not least, I have to thank every single one of my amazing colleagues, editors, writers and photographers alike, that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing in both the past and present. Like the Trojan family, the DT family is something that is very real and it possesses a sort of gravitational pull that never really lets go.
I’m not going to lie: The thing I’m going to miss most is being that kid from the DT. It’s a brand that was cast on me early in my college career and one I still embrace today. It’s one of the many things that is keeping me from wanting to pick up my fingers from the keyboard for the last time. If only I could get in one more word, phrase or paragraph.
Sadly, Father Time has finally caught up to me. Now that he has, I’m going to drive off into the sunset where it all started, a copy of the DT in one hand and four unforgettable years of writing for this paper in the other, because like words in print, the memories you make at the DT last forever.
Darian Nourian is a senior majoring in print and digital journalism. His column, “Persian Persuasion,” ran Thursdays.