Meet The Clarion’s sports editor Joe Craker



Joe Craker poses for a photo outside the athletic department.

Joe Craker, Sports Editor

I opened my email last summer for the first time about a month before classes started. At the top of my inbox sat a call for writers at the student newspaper. I can’t say no to things and, finding it hard to pass up an opportunity, I quickly replied. Unbeknownst to me, I got an even quicker response.

I had just finished work for the day, and made the short drive to Madison to see my girlfriend. Shortly after arriving at her place, I got an incoming call from a number that I did not know. At the time, spam calls were going out to just about everyone, and I for one was getting sick of them.

“Jimmy Johns!”  I answered, expecting another robotic voice to respond. Answering calls from people that I know in this manner is a staple in my comedic armory, right next to the terrible puns and even worse timing.  Although it was just an automated call, for some reason I thought it would get a chuckle from my girlfriend, who was within earshot.

A very confused “hello?” was the response.

Trying to recover quickly, I just said “yeah, sorry,” and waited in extreme anxiety. It was Andrew Kicmol, my future Editor-In-Chief, responding to my email. He interviewed me briefly, and reluctantly gave me the details of the first writer’s meeting. I made sure not to miss it.

Fast forward to the first issue of the semester for which I had taken some assignments, including volleyball and women’s soccer. This was not out of the ordinary for me, as I love watching and playing sports. However, I could not help but notice a phony award on a cabinet in our office, given to our Editor, Kicmol. It reads “Andrew Kicmol: Least Sportsy.”

Putting this together with the vacant position of Sports Editor made it clear that Kicmol needed someone to step up in that section of the paper. I was sure that it was not going to be me. I have made a living out of overbooking myself, and I was not going to let it happen this time. I was going to say no.

A few more issues came and went and the position remained vacant. One Tuesday, I was sitting at the end of the table where I always am, working on a piece about men’s soccer. Out of nowhere Doug Kirchberg, our advisor, came into the office. He immediately asks, “Hey Joe!  Do you want to be our Sports Editor?”

“Sure!”  I answered. At least, I think it was me that said it. My brain certainly didn’t, but there I was again, not able to say no.

I began writing for The Clarion because I love writing, which has always come naturally to me, and I thought it would be a good way to hone my skills and diversify my résumé at the same time. My mother is an English schoolteacher, and she used to sit with me and make sure both my grammar and mechanics were above par. A large portion of my success I owe to her.

What’s more, I love sports! Growing up, I played just about every sport that I could.  This continued into high school and college, and even came with me when I studied in Ireland and joined the school soccer team.

I plan on graduating this coming Spring, so maybe my title should be altered to “Interim Sports Editor.”  Regardless, I will work hard to fill the role to the best of my abilities. I only have two issues under my belt so far, but Kicmol, Kirchberg, and everyone on staff have done their best to make the position an easy one, and to that I am extremely grateful.