Soccer was the first sport I fell in love with. But it wasn’t playing or watching the sport that snatched my heart. Rather, it was the thrill of collecting trading cards. It was a weekly tradition where my brother and I, full of energy, would tear apart these small aluminum packets, eager to see which players we could add to our collection. 

Through the cards, I learnt more about each player and their respective qualities. Wayne Rooney? Well, he was the best card, so he had to be the best player. Petr Čech? Easily the best goalkeeper in the Premier League. 

After that, I started watching and playing — and learnt whether the information I had gathered from the cards was correct. John Terry? Yeah, he wasn’t that good. Gareth Bale? Sure, he was a good player, but I became an Arsenal fan, and he played for Tottenham Hotspurs. 

After soccer, it was cricket. Then came basketball, and baseball, and so on. All this is to say that while I am the Sports Editor, I’m far from a sports expert. There is still so much about sports I don’t know and am still learning.

My sports coverage at U of T has shown me just how big the sports world is. From the Humans vs Zombies Nerf Club to the Triathlon Club and the U of T Formula Racing Team, the definition of an athlete at U of T is manifold. Editing and reading all the work published in the Sports section this past volume has taught me so much about sports and I’m excited to see what else I can learn in the future.

The profiles are something that I’m particularly proud of. From the beginning, I’ve pushed for us to write and publish more profiles, aiming to use them as a way to highlight sports that have typically been underrepresented in The Varsity. MMA fighters, tennis players, rowers, hockey players, and figure skaters are among the various athletes, from various sports that we’ve covered. We’ve published the stories of so many athletes, unique in their own right, and their experiences and memories have been phenomenal. 

I want to thank my associate Ahmad Khan for his seemingly endless knowledge about combat sports, sharing some incredible stories and perspectives from a sport that our section has rarely covered. To my other two associates, Jake Takeuchi and Caroline Ho, thank you for your incredible articles and your energetic banter, creating a joyful and vibrant work environment. 

So, just like any Swiftie over the last NFL season, I have been learning about new sports this past year. Like the trading cards that first introduced me to soccer, I hope our coverage has introduced you to so many interesting, new sports. And I hope it encourages you to go out, try and play, or watch a new sport, and make your own stories. 

— Kunal Dadlani 

Sports Editor Vol. CXLIV