Out of Bounds: Class of 2023 signs off
In the year’s final episode of Out of Bounds, Daily Bruin’s sports podcast, senior staff writer Jon Christon chats with Sports Editor Sam Settleman and senior staff writer Francis Moon about their time with The Bruin the past four years.
Jon Christon: Hi, my name is Jon Christon, and this is Out of Bounds, Daily Bruin’s sports podcast.
JC: Hi, hello everyone, welcome back to another episode of Out of Bounds. For the very last time, I’m your host, Jon Christon, a senior staff writer here at The Daily Bruin. Graduation is near; it’s time to reminisce – and that means it’s time for the class of 2023 to sign off from Out of Bounds for the final time. I’m joined by two other class of 2023 Daily Bruin writers, Sports Editor Sam Settleman and senior staff writer Francis Moon. I thought we’d just start today by just introducing ourselves. I know you guys both have been on the podcast before, but just one final time, introduce just why you joined Daily Bruin Sports in the first place and what beats you were on on, things of that nature.
Sam Settleman: Yeah. I mean, obviously, both of you guys joined our freshman year. So I’m a little bit behind you guys. But I joined my sophomore year. My freshman year, I tried out a couple sports-related clubs on campus. I’ve always been a huge sports fan, so I figured I’d try to find some sort of community at UCLA through that. Never found the Daily Bruin my freshman year, unfortunately. And none of the other clubs really stuck, to be honest. I know a lot of us probably tried out some other sports clubs here, too. And I know, we probably all agree that Daily Bruin Sports has been by far the best experience. But yeah, I found Daily Bruin in my sophomore year, which was obviously kind of in the middle of COVID. And everything was a little bit off, but decided to apply as someone who enjoyed sports and enjoyed writing. That’s why most people apply, not necessarily because they want to go into sports journalism. And yeah, I started writing about right at like the end of 2020, I think was my first article. But I wrote for gymnastics and women’s water polo my first year. And I loved it. I wrote like 50 stories that year. And then was assistant editor next year, and the sports editor this year. So yeah, that’s pretty much an overview of what the last three years have been like for me.
Francis Moon: Yeah, so, I joined just a little bit sooner than Sam, right before COVID happened, beginning of winter quarter. So like Sam said, I joined my freshman year. During my fall quarter, my first quarter at UCLA, I applied to a bunch of mainly pre-med clubs, because I came in as a STEM major – didn’t get into most of them. And I kind of realized winter quarter that I should be applying to like a more diverse array of organizations instead of just trying to do this one thing. So I decided to think about what I actually enjoyed, which was you know, as Sam said, sports. That’s one of the main attractions at UCLA, especially as a student. So after applying, I joined the women’s tennis beat, which was the first beat I wrote for under Jared Tay, who was my first editor. And one of my first stories was actually a breaking, and that’s one of the things that made me fall in love with the entire process of just interviewing and writing a story about a game that you’re just watching and putting it into words on paper. And like Sam said, you know, not everyone in the Daily Bruin wants to go into journalism as a career. I think that there’s a lot that I’ve been learning from the Daily Bruin in terms of just growing myself as a person. And I’ve written for women’s basketball since then, the year after, following COVID – or I guess still during COVID. But when I got back into it, and the following year, I was a assistant sports editor and this year, I’ve been a senior staff writer on the men’s the men’s basketball and football beats.
JC: Yeah, I’m the oldest of the three here. I joined fall my freshman year. I knew I was going to join a student newspaper wherever I ended up going to school. I’m kind of, I don’t know, I’ve always been interested in sports media, and whatnot. And, you know, like Sam, I tried out a few other clubs that I’m not going to name. Sam and I actually met at one of those clubs, he doesn’t remember but they’re just like nothing compared to, to this. The structure, the institution. All that. And I applied my freshman year, got in, wrote for women’s basketball freshman year and softball, and I’ll talk about this later. But the women’s basketball beat was just like, an awesome time. Michael Waldman, Dylan D’Souza, our editor Jacqueline Dzwonczyk, all of them was just like creating such a cool community here, and I knew I wanted to stay in it for as long as I could, keep, you know, climbing the ranks and whatnot. So after that, I applied for assistant sports editor my sophomore year, and then I became the top sports editor last year, and I was an editor with both Sam and Francis then. And then this year, I was a senior staff writer for football and men’s basketball. And yeah, just kind of exactly how I wanted it to go. So definitely, definitely cool, cool experience, to say the least. But now I thought we just, you know, reminisce about games we liked, whatever we want to talk about. So I guess I’ll posit this question to you guys: What was your favorite beat to be on? And was the favorite team you covered in these four, or three years in Sam’s case, at the Daily Bruin?
SS: Yeah, I think for me, in both cases, the answer to that question is gymnastics. Probably not what I would have told you coming in to this experience. I think as an intern, I’d put down women’s basketball first on my beat preference form, just like a lot of other interns do, because they think, you know, that’s the biggest beat around. I did have gymnastics two. And, and I got put on that my freshman year, or my sophomore year, I guess – my first year at the Daily Bruin. But that was a pretty crazy experience, just because UCLA gymnastics has such a huge reach. And it’s something that I think a lot of people don’t realize until they kind of get into covering it, especially on social media. So just to see that, I mean, obviously, like part of being at Daily Bruin is you’re gonna write a lot of articles that nobody but your parents read. But to know that, you know, your articles are being read by other people across the Internet is a pretty cool feeling, too. So that, and also just the sport itself is really fun to watch, I think. So that’s probably been my favorite experience. I’ve covered that team for the last three years. So definitely, I’d say that’s my favorite. But I will say women’s water polo was also for me super unexpected, because I added that as a second beat, my first year, did not expect to enjoy it at all, to be honest, I didn’t really want to be placed on the beat in the first place. But that beat was pretty much just me and my editor Kyle Boal. He wrote whatever stories I didn’t want to write, but for the most part, it’s just me covering that team the entire season. It was really cool to kind of just build that relationship with the coach Adam Wright and other players on the team, as well. I covered them all the way to a national championship and UCLA hosted that national championship, too. Ended up being 18-9, USC win, worst loss in water polo championship history, but overall, just a pretty insane experience, especially as someone who had no idea what the sport was to begin with, and then, you know, became somewhat of an expert, I guess, three months later.
FM: I think of the same answer for both questions, too. I kind of consider women’s basketball my first beat since when I joined the women’s tennis beat in winter quarter I only wrote four or five stories maybe, and then, obviously, the pandemic happened. So I think women’s basketball was really what made me I guess, fall in love with Daily Bruin. I think it was, especially because of the fact that it was a time where not much was happening around campus and everything was online, classes were online, there was a lot of time being spent just like not doing much, I guess. So being able to go to women’s basketball games, go to Pauley, even if the arenas were empty, just being able to sit there and being able to interview athletes still and just be able to experience Daily Bruin. That definitely was a very fulfilling experience for me my sophomore year. And then becoming the assistant editor on that beat the following year, that just made it even more exciting and fun, being able to guide my writers through, you know, the same experiences that I had the previous year. And obviously, even though they weren’t, you know, as good as they normally are, when I was an editor, and they didn’t make it to the NCAA tournament, just traveling to Las Vegas for the Pac-12 tournament, and just going to every home game, that was definitely an experience that I’ll definitely remember for the rest of my life. And definitely an honorable mention goes out to football, because I’ve always been a huge football fan, and the Rose Bowl, it’s just never better than going to the Rose Bowl press box or stands. And I definitely got to go to some very exciting football games. So I love being on that beat as well.
SS: Yeah, I’ll actually second that as well. Same deals as Francis. I feel like growing up, football is my No. 1 sport. And so to be able to cover a team like UCLA football and go to the Rose Bowl press box and be in a stadium like the Rose Bowl to begin with is was pretty insane for me to be able to do this year. So yeah, I’ll definitely say that one as well.
JC: Anything basketball, I’m a huge basketball fan is obviously going to be my answer here. But I think my favorite team specifically was the women’s basketball team my freshman year. That’s the first team I covered. And so it was my first time like doing any of this stuff. And I just, like Francis said, just fell in love with the process and really got to, you know, learn everything about the players I could, learn everything about the team, the history, all that. It’s cool. Women’s basketball is a big beat, so you get to go to Pauley Pavilion, which is obviously a historic arena. You get to go to the media room – you get to do all of that. But you also get to know the players pretty well. You get to interview them like basically every day because there’s a ton of media, a ton of stuff like that. You really got to develop that relationship, so just knowing that Cori Close knew my name at the end of my freshman year was just like such a big achievement for me. And, I don’t know, it was just cool. I just liked everyone on the team. Charisma Osborne was was a freshman then, I was a freshman then, so. They had a few other good freshmen so I kind of felt connected to that class and it’s just been cool to see them, you know, watch them my four years here and I just always remember that beat fondly.
SS: Yeah, I guess on that too. Like what Jon was saying, like, it really does make a difference who’s on the team, who the coach is and all that. I think, in terms of for me, my favorite team to cover has probably been gymnastics this season just because the coach is fun to talk to. The athletes are fun to talk to. It just really does make a huge difference. And as you kind of develop that relationship over time, you get to know these players as people. It does dramatically change the experience I think, instead of just kind of being a fan from the outside and you don’t really get to know them on the same level, I think.
JC: One of the best parts of our job is really getting to talk to these players and, and coaches, and just seeing that the players are, you know, fellow students and whatnot and you can see him around campus and say hi to them and, and all that it’s just such a cool experience.
JC: Jumping off that I we do a lot of interviews, we interview players coaches. So I guess I want to ask you guys, what was your favorite, you know, coach or player interaction that you had in an interview?
FM: Yeah, I definitely have an answer for that. So, like I said, last year, when I was an assistant editor on the women’s basketball beat, they weren’t very good, particularly. So, compared to normal years, there weren’t as many people in the press box. And also compared to men’s basketball, there weren’t as many people in the press box most games. There were actually a couple games was literally just me and either Lauryn or Grace or Gavin – one of my writers. And we were the only people asking questions. And for a team like UCLA, women’s basketball, you know, that is a little disappointing, but at the same time, you know, that wasn’t going to make us stop going to every single game and continuing our coverage every game because they weren’t as good of a team. So at the end of the season, unprompted, the coach Cori Close, like Jon said, it was cool to just even have her know my name, but she kind of unprompted, just thanked us for being there every game for continuing our coverage and for just sharing their stories. So I think that that definitely kind of resonated with me a lot. Because, you know, it’s not just about covering games. It’s not just about like, reporting about their wins and losses. It’s also about sharing their visibility and just spreading awareness about the team on campus because I think that I’ve written a column about this where I think that women’s basketball definitely does deserve a lot more publicity on campus.
SS: For me, my favorite coach or player interaction interview has to be, and this goes back to what I said about the gymnastics team this year, but I think as after the gymnastics NCAA Regionals, the regional final, a couple couple of months ago at this point, I guess, they actually hosted a regional Pauley Pavilion, so it was at home and all that. And anybody who follows UCLA gymnastics knows it’s kind of been a roller coaster over three years for them in the three seasons that I’ve been covering them. My first year covering them, they miss nationals for the first time in a while, then they did it again last year and had some controversy behind the scenes, ended up with some coach turnover. So they bring in a new coach this year in Janelle McDonald, and I think the whole vibe of the team kind of just changed this year. And just a really fun team to cover because they were having fun all the time. And I think that really peaked after they qualified for nationals. Because the regional final didn’t get off to the greatest start, and then they kind of made a comeback to make the NCAA championships. And after in the press conference, Jordan Chiles, Janelle McDonald, Chae Campbell, Selena Harris, they were all on cloud nine. I mean, I think Jordan Chiles said she was on cloud 9, too. But she’s someone who just really loves to have fun all the time in those press conferences. She doesn’t care what she says. She’s laughing around the entire time, goofing off. And I think that was probably the most fun I’ve ever had. It was just 30 minutes of kind of nonstop chaos almost. But everyone in that room really had a smile and I think that was just an awesome moment together.
JC: Longtime listeners to this podcast, if there are any, know that I’m not the best talker. I don’t like talking particularly, so not a great skill for an interviewer to have. So, I was pretty nervous before any interview I did. I still am. But that was particularly true my freshman year during my first interview. And I remember going to Mo Ostin, the practice center to interview Cori Close, Lauryn Miller and Charisma Osborne, and just being like, so nervous. I think I went back and looked at my questions a few weeks ago, they weren’t great questions, but they’re, you know, they’re just fine. I didn’t really have much to be nervous about it was just, you know, first time and I just remember they could not have been more nice about it. They were asking me questions about like Daily Bruin and whatnot, but they answered all my questions. They responded on my follow up, so yeah, shout out Cori Close, Lauryn Miller. They’re my first interviews. Shout out coach Kelly Inouye-Perez from softball, too. She invites you into her office to chat about the game and it really does just feel like a conversation. But I guess if I had to pick up one, something specifically, it was, I grew up in Eugene, a big Oregon fan. Oregon football, specifically. So Chip Kelly was kind of, I don’t want to say he was like a god in Eugene or anything, but he was a very, very big deal when I was growing up, and so I was always very nervous in any press conference with him. So it took like a whole year, I think, before I asked Chip my first question just because I’m not a big talker. I don’t like asking questions. I don’t want to get him mad at me or anything like that, which I shouldn’t have been worried about. But after the Oregon game this year in Eugene, I remember asking them about some onside kick Oregon had and he gave a good response and like, make direct eye contact and stuff. And I just felt like I made it, kind of, in the sense that like I was in Eugene asking Chip Kelly a question. Like, if you were told me that at age 12, or something, I would have freaked out. So that was just a very vindicating moment for me.
FM: Yeah, and shoutout to women’s tennis coach Stella Sampras Webster too, because kind of like, Jon, I’m not a huge talker. I got really nervous before my first interviews, but she was the first person I interviewed my freshman year. And she just made it very easy. She also took me into her office and just kind of talked to me. So after that, I got a little less nervous about talking to them, because I realize that they enjoy it too.
SS: And if we’re all sharing stories, where we got nervous, I think my first interview, this was over zoom, so I guess it’s maybe a little less nerve wracking. But I think all of us will say like, it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve done it before – you still get nervous before them. But my first one was with Kyla Ross, who at that time was an assistant coach with UCLA gymnastics. She had just graduated from the team. And she’s, you know, like, I wasn’t necessarily the biggest gymnastics follower for the first 20 years of my life. But obviously, I knew her name, and she was an Olympian, and she was a big name. And I remember this doing the Zoom interview and looking back at the recording afterwards, I literally couldn’t even open the recording, like I, I just looked at the audio because I was bright red the entire interview, and I couldn’t even I couldn’t even watch it back. So yeah, maybe not my favorite memory. But I think all of us have some stories like that.
JC: Listening to yourself talk is the hardest thing to do. And if you have to do that, to transcribe an interview, it’s very hard. And I’d say it can be intimidating to if you’re at a media scrum with LA Times, ESPN, whatnot. And just, it can be a lot for sure.
JC: Transitioning off of that, I want to talk about some of our favorite games we’ve seen live. I know a lot of us have been to games together. But we’ve covered a lot of stuff. I think what there’s at least more than 10 years between us. So just covering different sports and whatnot. So, what were some of your favorite games that you guys covered while at the Daily Bruin?
SS: I guess probably I’ll start us off with the most recent memorable one, which was UCLA-Gonzaga men’s basketball March Madness tournament this year. Obviously, I mean, a crazy game that got incredibly crazy at the end of it. Jon and I were both there. Except most of the time, I mean, when we’re at a game together, we’re sitting next to each other. In that case, we were sitting entirely across from each other. But to be able to sit courtside, first of all, at a March Madness game was surreal for me, obviously. But then just the way that game unfolded the end, I mean, it’s one of those games where, you know, I wasn’t even writing but it’s one of those games where if you’re writing the wrap, like you put away the laptop and you just you just watch it and you watch it unfold.
JC: As the one who actually wrote the recap – the wrap of that game – I can confirm that I just put my computer away and just took it all in.
SS: Yeah, I mean, it’s one of those where you get to the last couple minutes the game and everybody on media row there is puts their laptops away. They take out their phones, and they’re recording almost like a fan, obviously not in the same way. But yeah, I just I mean, it’s like an indescribable experience, those couple of minutes where it’s just like, ‘What is happening right now?’
JC: Really is surreal. I think that’s the best way to put that game specifically because it just felt like everybody was watching like everybody, you know, it was watching that game. And it was the history between UCLA-Gonzaga and sitting courtside in an NCAA Tournament game, a packed arena, everyone yelling. Like that is experience second to none. And it really just, I don’t know, it really hammered home that this is really cool. This is like, a really great experience that we’re all extremely lucky to have. I think the moment that it set in for me was before the game, the game before was Connecticut-Arkansas, and Sam and I went out and watched that game. And UConn won. It wasn’t a close game or anything but after the game, Dan Hurley, UConn’s coach, went over… I was sitting, so I was sitting courtside. I was sitting right in front of the UConn fan section. And he was going over to talk to his wife and his wife happened to be like right directly behind me. So he kind of leaned over me to hug his wife, and then, little did I know that Bill Murray, the actor, was like a row behind them and I just didn’t see it, I guess. But some UConn staffer, video staffer, filmed the whole thing, and it got pretty viral, of Dan Hurley and Bill Murray yelling at each other because I think Bill Murray’s asking asking the coach to take off his shirt or something and in that video I’m there just like filming and I have to smile and I guess I had no idea what was happening. I didn’t know Bill Murray was even there, but that video got pretty viral and I’ve had people send me pictures of me in it and I was like I’m like right there at like this like huge event that a lot of people were watching like it doesn’t get better than that. And obviously the game itself, Julian Strawther’s big shot, UCLA’s comeback. and I was right there when Amari Bailey hit the game-tying … I actually it was a three to take the lead I think, that would have won UCLA the game and brought them to an Elite Eight, and all that. And just, what an experience.
FM: Yeah, and I hate to bring up another heartbreaker, but the year before when I went to the Sweet 16 game against UNC, that probably was also one of my favorite experiences with Daily Bruin. Again, like Sam said, even just being able to sit courtside at a March Madness game is just surreal to me, not something that I ever thought I’d do in my life. But even just watching the game before St. Peters vs. Purdue, that was just very surreal to me, it felt like I was just a fan watching like a historic game. And then obviously tensions got a lot higher and I got very nervous reading the wrap for UNC which only got even worse towards the ends when Caleb Love kind of just took over, which obviously was very sad, but it was a very fun experience. Just being around all these different reporters and journalists from the New York Times, Washington Post, things like the that was just surreal to me seeing my name next to outlets like that.
JC: And just doing interviews next to them is just crazier. Like have to raise your hand for the mic. I got one of the NCAA Tournament press conferences I was at, Bill Plaschke, the LA Times columnist who is on ESPN and stuff… I had the mic and right when I was about to ask a question he like last second something right on top of me. And I was like, ‘Wow, like this guy who I grew up watching on – what’s the show? “Around the Horn?” Yeah – who I grew up watching on “Around the Horn” like on ESPN2 and stuff just like talked on top of me to get his question asked.’ It’s like intimidating and stuff, but it just like, it really makes you feel like, I don’t know, how lucky it is that I got to go do these things.
SS: Yeah, I feel like there’s many, like, crazy games, like we can talk about UCLA-Gonzaga, UCLA-USC football this year was one that the three of us were all at together in terms of like, crazy games that we’ve been able to see in the last four years. Like there’s a lot of those, but just as many, there’s, you know, moments where it’s like, ‘OK, how am I even here right now?’ Like, for me, I think going to Fort Worth to watch the gymnastics championships a month ago was one of those moments just because I had covered the team for three years and they hadn’t made it there yet. So to be able to have that experience was incredible. And then another one, I think going to Eugene for the UCLA at Oregon football game this past year. We got up super early to go to “College GameDay.” Then you go to that game and to see Autzen Stadium. that press box was probably the most crazy view I’ve seen from a press box yet.
JC: That’s probably the loudest game I’ve been to I got my time here that was just a wild environment, as someone who has been to Autzen a lot, that was a new level for going to “GameDay,” all that, was such an experience. And then yeah, another one like that, Sam saying that, like, ‘How am I here right now?’ was UCLA-Oregon in 2020, when, you know, COVID lockdowns were everywhere. There was no fans at any of these games. And I just happened to be in Eugene, because UCLA was online for that that year. So I was back home. And I remember asking Jack Perez, who was a top editor then like, ‘Hey, if I’m already here, can I go to the game?’ And sure enough, I got a credential. And just being in an empty stadium when a game is being played like that, that’s probably never gonna happen again in our lifetimes. And just to see like, it was a good game, too, it came down to the end. It was the game Chase Griffin started. And just like knowing that this is like really probably a once in a lifetime experience is just crazy to think about and the opportunities we’re afforded here. One more, just like best performance, or something I saw, was the first game went to the Rose Bowl. It was the Fresno State football game that I went with Sam, where Jake Haener probably had the best performance I’ve ever seen from a quarterback, like ever. And I wasn’t the only one who said that – Chip Kelly, after the game, said that was the best performance he’s seen from a quarterback before.
SS: I feel like as many crazy UCLA wins as we’ve seen, we’ve seen a lot of heartbreaking losses. I guess in the moment, watching a loss is not as fun as watching a win, because at the end of the day, journalists, you know, they understand that when you’re covering a team that’s winning, it’s a lot more fun than when you’re covering a team that’s losing. It’s just a totally different feeling to cover a loss than it is to cover a win, especially when it comes in heartbreaking fashion. But I think like looking back on it now, those are, you know… Maybe it wasn’t fun to cover UCLA blowing a late lead to Fresno State. And watching Jake Haener put up a crazy performance like that in the moment. And it wasn’t fun to listen to what she had to say afterwards, I’m sure. But to think back and be like, ‘Oh, wow, I was at a crazy game of that magnitude,’ I think is a lot cooler to reminisce on now than it was maybe in the moment.
JC: I know Francis and I went to the first and second round of the NCAA tournament this year and we watched the Arizona-Princeton game. We got there very early just to watch all these games. And we went down courtside. I think our seats weren’t for until later that day, but we found two empty courtside media seats down there that was right next to the Arizona bench. And of course Princeton ended up winning that game, it was a huge upset and if you watch any video of it, you can see Francis and I like right there, like right where everyone’s celebrating and cheering and all that. That like I don’t know, like in 20 years. I’m going to be watching like one of those YouTube compilations that’s like, ‘March Madness Best Moments,’ and that’s going to be on there and I can like look for myself. That’s a pretty cool experience.
FM: Yeah, as Jon can attest to, I probably got a little too excited. But Princeton is my hometown team.
JC: You can you can see Francis cheering in the video. I should have thrown that in. We shouldn’t cheer in press row, but sometimes it happens.
FM: Yeah, but that definitely was a very big full circle moment for me because I remember go in the Princeton basketball games as a five-year-old kid and just being able to sit courtside watching them beat the No. 2 seed that is another, like, ‘How am I here?’ moment. But also going back to what Sam said another, ‘How am I here?’ moment was over winter break, I was back home in New Jersey and I got to go to a game at Madison Square Garden, which if you haven’t been able to do if, especially if you’re at a basketball game, I definitely recommend trying to do that one time in your life because there really is nothing like it. Being able to be in the media room and like watch John Calipari and all of them get interviewed, just all of it was just very surreal to me. Another experience that I’ll never forget,
JC: Just like a few quick honorable mentions because I think we got to speed this up a little: UCLA-Villanova basketball game, first one with fans in a while after the Final Four run. That was just incredible game to watch. I know Sam didn’t get in because the line situation was its own thing. But that was a great one. Going back to my freshman year. I wasn’t at this one, but there was a UCLA-USC women’s basketball game that I think I covered remotely or something that was double overtime. Natalie Chou hit a crazy shot that put it into overtime. And I remember that well. And then Texas-UCLA softball game my freshman year, too, I just remember going into extra innings and there’s like I think one vs. two or something like that. And there’s, at the school, so many good games like that in any sport, any caliber that you’re always going to see like the best of the best really, regardless of the game you go to.
FM: Yeah, and then just one final one I wanted to bring up was I know we were talking about a home crowd during a win, me and Sam were both at the UCLA-LSU football game. I think that was definitely one of the best home environments that have been that even though it was up in the press box with the sound barrier, I could still feel just the sheer amount of fans and students there were and that was definitely a very cool experience.
JC: The Rose Bowl is unmatched, especially when it’s filled. Like, we were all at UCLA-USC this year, like that was like such a view – I’ve never seen it filled like that. And it’s probably one of the most, if not the most, iconic football stadiums, and just having that be your home stadium is incredible.
SS: Yeah, those two games probably like in terms of atmosphere. I don’t know if I’m ever going beat that.
JC: Great experience for all of us. But I think we have reminisced enough about games. So just, you know, all these games, usually we have to write a wrap for it. And we have a lot of wraps, we’re like, but I guess I want to ask, we also read a lot of you know, previews, notebooks, features, columns. What was one story in particular, that wasn’t a wrap, that you guys really are proud of?
SS: I’m going to directly ignore your question for a second and answer with a wrap, just because this one’s a little outside the box. But I think covering the the Tokyo Olympics for gymnastics a couple years ago was probably one of the coolest experiences for me. Remotely, yes – not in Tokyo, to clarify. But yeah, I think one of the things I realized about gymnastics off the bat is it is super big at UCLA. But everybody knows it’s big on the Olympic stage. So to be able to wake up at 5 a.m. and write a wrap of you know, Jordan Chiles, competing in the Olympics was kind of insane. And I remember the story kind of blowing up on my Twitter afterwards. So yeah, that was probably the coolest like, outside of the box Daily Bruin experience I’ve had maybe. But then in terms of nonwraps, I think writing the feature on David Singleton this year was probably the coolest experience I’ve had. Just because I feel like a lot of times, you know, when you think of men’s basketball and football athletes, we almost put them on a pedestal. They’re like, almost unreachable. And to be able to kind of get to know one of them on a one-on-one basis, I think, was an experience that I haven’t had before. To be able to tell that story, I think was really cool.
FM: Yeah, for me, I think it would be when I was on the women’s basketball beat as an editor last year. I wrote a story about, like, several of the women’s basketball players last year just led an initiative for social justice. And I sat down with both Camryn Brown and Cori Close and Charisma about it. And just being able to talk to them one on one about, you know, their point of view and their like thought process behind the initiative and being able to work together on that and what it meant to them. That was definitely a very cool experience for me, and then being able to put that into words, put that into a story that other people can read was definitely something that I didn’t take lightly. And on a similar line, another story that I’ve definitely enjoyed writing was my column about women’s basketball earlier this year about how they deserve more visibility. I think that, especially with the fact that they’ve gotten some huge transfers and some huge commitments recently, women’s basketball has a huge chance to skyrocket in the coming years at UCLA. And being able to write an article like that and feel like I’m actually, you know, spreading awareness and like making an impact on campus for the team was definitely very cool.
JC: I guess my favorite story to write was my first column I wrote, my first Christon Chronicle in 2020. After Under Armour, in a pretty big deal, they backed out of their contract with UCLA, and UCLA needed a new apparel sponsor, and people were wondering like, ‘Who is going to be?’ That was my first column, was, you know, looking all the different options of you know, Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, again, Jordan or something. And that’s just like so like, in my wheelhouse, like, I don’t know, I was like a uniform nerd kids growing up who always just loved classic jerseys or just like love like ranking jerseys and stuff. Somewhere in my Google Docs I have a ranking of like every major pro teams’ jerseys. So doing that, just like talking about that, I obviously know a lot about it, too. I just felt like like just the combination of so many my interests, just going down the list of saying like, what would Adidas be good for, what would Jordan be good for? And at the end of it, I gave my pick, and I said, I think it’s going to be Jordan and Nike. It just made sense. Jordan needed a West Coast school, just like a flagship university like that, and it ended up being true. So that was a pretty cool moment to have. And I think I got pretty… I remember people in like, the Facebook comments were mad at me for something and just like seeing that people will comment on your article, like, even if it’s bad, it’s just like, ‘Wow, people are reading this.’
JC: I guess to wrap us up, I just wanted to ask you guys, do you guys have any words of wisdom, any advice for people thinking about joining the Daily Bruin or who are already in the Daily Bruin and want to kind of get more involved or something like that? What are just some parting thoughts on your experience?
FM: Yeah, I think the same as Sam said earlier, I think an important thing to remember is you don’t have to want to do journalism as a career to join the Daily Bruin. Like I said, I’m pre-dental. So like, obviously nothing to do with journalism. But at the same time, I think that the skills I’ve gained from being in the Daily Bruin and involving myself with it are things that I wouldn’t have been able to get anywhere else. I think that if you enjoy sports, or you know, anything else that Daily Bruin has to offer, then I would definitely recommend just trying to immerse yourself as much as possible, because there’s so many opportunities that the Daily Bruin offers, and definitely changed my college experience for the better.
SS: Yeah, I’ll say more or less what Francis said. But I mean, we just spent like, 20 minutes talking about our favorite games that we’ve got to cover. And I mean, none of us really want to go into sports journalism as a career. And yet, here we are. And we’ve written you know, probably, I don’t know how many articles between us, but 800-plus articles between us. And yeah, I’ve like Francis said, I mean, you learn a ton, whether or not you want to go into the field or not. And if you’re a sports fan, I mean, you’re not going to get a better experience on campus, because UCLA has an incredible array of sports to offer. And you get a front row seat to those and talk to the athletes and talk to the coaches. I mean, I know for me, like every time I still do it, it’s still like, kind of surreal in my head.
JC: Yeah, I guess for me, it’s just that all these stories we told, I think what made a lot of them so cool is that we weren’t alone doing this. We had other people in Daily Bruin traveling with us or going to games with us. And I think that’s my biggest takeaway, is just that, like, the Daily Bruin just creates community, and you get to know so many people and like, be friends with so many people and whatnot, and have like just shared interests, all that. The people in this place are great. And it’s just, I don’t know, it’s such a cool experience and to really just take every opportunity presented to you. And just if you want to write a big beat you can, you just have to put the work in, but just small beats are awesome. Sports are awesome. Just, it really gives you an opportunity to really like nerd out and like go really deep into something you’re interested in. That is just awesome for a college experience like this. I can’t imagine where I’d be without the Daily Bruin, so, yeah. I guess that’s going to wrap us up for our final Out of Bounds together. Thank you, Sam, Francis, for coming on. Yeah, thanks, everyone for listening these last few years. Out of Bounds is still going to be in good hands and all that but, for the final time: Out of Bounds is brought to you by the Daily Bruin, UCLA’s student newspaper. You can listen to this show and others by The Dave Bruin on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and SoundCloudm and a transcript for this show is available available Dailybruin.com. Thanks, everyone.