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UCLA chancellor appointment

‘The decisions we make in an instant’: How a whim irrevocably changed my life -30-

Joseph Crosby stands for a portrait. (Michael Gallagher/Assistant Photo editor)

By Joseph Crosby

June 10, 2024 9:05 p.m.

I always like to tell people that I fell ass-backward into joining the Daily Bruin.

It was the start of my sophomore year, and the extent of my knowledge about The Bruin was realizing I went to a school that probably had a student newspaper.

I had just decided I didn’t want to go to law school and was shifting my goals to a career in baseball analytics – although that one might be a little out the window now, too – so I thought of the best ways to do something sports-related in college.

Thus, with about two days to spare before the Sports intern application was due, I sent one in with the hopes of getting my feet wet and writing for baseball.

What a world I put myself in.

Do you ever think about the moments that change your life? Those singular decisions that alter the entire trajectory of who you are?

My dad always likes to talk about “the decisions we make in an instant that affect us for a lifetime.” It’s a phrase that I’ve never forgotten, among others he’s imparted on me.

Those slight choices – going to a party, talking to the person you’re standing in line behind at Kerckhoff Coffeehouse, whatever. Moments that seem so unbelievably insignificant but end up being the most impactful of them all.

The biggest decision for me – the one that irrevocably changed me into the person I am today – came in Sproul Cove on some bullshit whim in the fall of 2021. And maybe that’s being a little dramatic, but why not hyperbolize life a little bit?

I wouldn’t change it for the world.

I wrote about golf to start. Stick me in a tee box and I couldn’t hit the ball straight if my life depended on it, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t learn how to write a lede about UCLA’s freshmen leading the team to a top-five finish.

Then, I wrote about baseball – the thing I wanted to do when I joined the paper. I wrote about Jackie Robinson Day, walk-offs by Cody Schrier and losses in the Pac-12 tournament.

I became an editor. I learned about water polo and the art of the six-on-five. I wrote about baseball and more Pac-12 tournament losses.

Then I became the Sports editor. I followed in the footsteps of good friends. I covered a mediocre football team and a disappointing men’s basketball team. No more Jaime Jaquez Jr. – go Scorps! I wrote about a really, really awful baseball team that was so bad they didn’t even make the Pac-12 tournament.

God forbid I write about them losing for a third consecutive year.

I also ended up in TIME magazine. I don’t have enough space to write about how that happened, but I feel like it’s worth mentioning.

I didn’t realize it wasn’t about the stories until later on. In the beginning, that’s all that mattered. Articles published online. Bylines in the paper. I haven’t yet tried lifting the box where I keep all my physical copies of The Bruin, but I’m quite certain it isn’t very light.

And yet, all of that seems meaningless now. I couldn’t care less whether UCLA or USC won the 2023 rivalry game. All I care about is that Grace Whitaker and Gavin Carlson were there with me.

I couldn’t care less that UCLA almost beat Arizona on the road. All I care about is that Lauryn Wang and I couldn’t stop texting about the game, shocked at the lead the Bruins built – then lost.

I couldn’t care less that UCLA lost to Oregon in the Pac-12 tournament – well, maybe I care about that one a little bit – but it was more important that Jack Nelson and I got to be there, courtside, together.

It’s the people that make the Daily Bruin what it is. Sure, I’ll cherish the moments – trips to the Rose Bowl, SoFi Stadium, Pauley Pavilion, Jackie Robinson Stadium, Dodger Stadium, T-Mobile Arena – but none of it would’ve mattered without the people that got me there.

To Matthew, Benjamin and Jon – thank you for being some of my best friends in the world. I raise a beer to you, my wonderful trio of ball knowers.

To Sam and Olivia – thank you for shepherding a baby Crosbinator into this wild paper, teaching me everything I know and becoming lifelong friends in the process.

To Gavin, Grace, Jack and Lauryn – thank you for putting up with me when I was your “boss,” even if we might have thrown that term around a little bit too much. There’s no group of people I’d rather be with Tuesday nights.

To Jeremy – the first friend I ever made at UCLA and the man who helped me retain a bit of my sanity freshman year – Ira, Nicole, Sharla, Neeti, Tyler, Kaiya, Shreya, Bryan and Gabi – thank you for being a part of my life. I can’t imagine my journey without any of you.

I’ve met so many amazing people through this newspaper, all of whom have me smiling through it all, unable to believe this is my life. I find it surreal to think that if I made just one fewer Google search, I might never have found the Daily Bruin.

Hopefully, if I ever suddenly fall into something again, it will be half as good as this was.

Crosby was a Sports contributor and reporter 2021-2022, assistant Sports editor 2022-2023 and Sports editor 2023-2024.

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Joseph Crosby | Sports editor
Crosby is the 2023-2024 Sports editor on the football, men's basketball and NIL beats. He was previously an assistant Sports editor on the baseball, women's golf, men's water polo and women's water polo beats and a contributor on the baseball and women's golf beats. He is also a fourth-year statistics student.
Crosby is the 2023-2024 Sports editor on the football, men's basketball and NIL beats. He was previously an assistant Sports editor on the baseball, women's golf, men's water polo and women's water polo beats and a contributor on the baseball and women's golf beats. He is also a fourth-year statistics student.
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