The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday May 31st

Farewell Column: A blue-hearted send-off, I fear

Hunter Nelson was the Sports Editor for 2022-2023 and will graduate in May 2023.
Buy Photos Hunter Nelson was the Sports Editor for 2022-2023 and will graduate in May 2023.

Despite my proud Michigan upbringing, I always knew I wanted to be a tarheel (one word, lowercase).

As a young foodie that craved the imaginary taste of a Time Out chicken cheddar biscuit and a NASCAR aficionado that owned more Ricky Rudd merchandise than any sane follower would like to admit, I thought spending time in the “Southern Part of Heaven” could be the move.

My first semester on campus ended up being everything I could've hoped for, but I still felt another play was to be made.

It was time to become a purist, admirably.

After months of snagging the latest copy of The Daily Tar Heel en route to hooping for hours in the Rams Head Recreation Center, I decided to apply for a spot on the sports desk. A week later, I almost deleted an email from then-Sports Editor Ryan Wilcox with a suspiciously labeled subject line that said, "you're hired" — just how any reasonable student should react to a seemingly Mickey Mouse opportunity.

As it turned out, giving the message a second glance proved I knew ball.

Sitting here three and a half years later with numerous bylines and countless relationships formed, I can proudly state that joining the paper and staying loyal to the grind of becoming an editor was perhaps the best college decision I ever made. 

From my first softball assignment at Anderson Stadium to the Final Four in New Orleans to the full send Talladega trip I'm still recovering from, the DTH has allowed me to complete an abundance of side missions and has catapulted me into a main character role I can be proud of.

Given this is likely the last story I'll ever publish in this publication, I should probably turn off the shot clock to take it myself and brag further about all the cool things I got to do. But instead, I wanted to take the time to show some love to the people that helped make it happen.

I'm a bit of an old head, so shouting out all the former editors I went into battle with each day might take a minute. But from a standpoint of your Jared McMasters, your Zach Crain, your PJ Morales, your Ryan Heller and your Jeremiah Holloway, thank you for taking this ride with me and being incredible people to interact with on a daily basis.

Wait... you know what? Here go two more shoutouts for y'all.

To the current assistants, Lucas Thomae and Shelby Swanson, thank you for bringing so much passion into the office every day and guiding the writers to become the best versions of themselves they can be. I also wanted to show love to all the journalism professors and professional mentors (you all know who you are, no need for me to report) that pushed me to work hard and helped me become a quality storyteller — although I know there's still room to grow.

But lastly, thank you to Chapel Hill for being the theater that made it all happen. 

When I first visited the town in May 2019, I had visions of becoming a blue-hearted fan that would do anything to watch the heels (again, lowercase) come out on top. Although I'm happy I made the transition to an objective reporter that values the "game within the game," I still got chills each time I covered a home event because I had to pinch myself that being here was my current reality.

In just a few clicks, my final words to graze this website will be filed. In a half-hour, I'll deliver one of my final "YEEEOOOOOs" as I enter the elevated door at 109 East Franklin St. with a Panera Charged Lemonade clenched in my fist.

And in a week, I'll miss it all. 

Hidden behind all the desk-related jargon and the inside jokes that will go over the heads of many, I think adding a quick nut graf below as the cherry on top of this sabbatical is sneaky bag.

So, the TL;DR?

To the people close to me, to Chapel Hill and to a student newspaper of a supposedly "dying" industry, thank you for being "so love" and helping little Hunter make the most of his dream.  


@dthsports | 

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.


The Daily Tar Heel Women's Tennis Victory Paper

Special Print Edition

Games & Horoscopes

Print Edition Games Archive