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A smooth start to covering ASU athletics

Taylyn Hadley Avatar
September 8, 2023
ASU's Sparky throws up a pitchfork sign.

There is no better time to be thrust into Arizona State University sports than the fall of 2023. A new football coach, a self-imposed bowl ban and the crumbling of the Pac-12 is just the easy and smooth-sailing transition that I was looking for to start my time at PHNX… NOT.

However, I would not want it any other way. What better way to adapt to the ASU culture than the jumbled, unknown season that we are facing right now? 

ASU kicked off its season with a thrilling 24-21 victory over Utah State and the beginning of the season was just as eventful as the offseason had foreseen. 

Last Thursday’s season opener was smooth for about five minutes before the dust started to settle in — literally. A catastrophe in the form of the monsoon season’s first Haboob followed by an intense thunderstorm extended halftime by two hours and 45 minutes with an 11:30 p.m. third-quarter kickoff. 

With ASU’s second game rolling in against Oklahoma State on Saturday night, we will have plenty of time to discuss the season and the players and coaches who will be a part of it. 

For now, let’s do something that I don’t ever get to do through writing: Let’s talk about me. 

PHNX is my breakout job into the world of sports journalism and I could not be anymore grateful for them taking me under their wing and trusting me to tell stories on their behalf. 

I will be writing feature stories on everything ASU, from football to basketball and softball to golf. ASU is a university I have a lot of passion for as it is one half of my alma mater. 

I graduated in the summer of 2023 with my Masters in sports journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Prior to ASU, I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Psychology at Portland State University in my home state of Oregon. 

I know what you’re thinking, “Huh?”

That’s right, 18-year-old Taylyn was destined to be a forensic psychologist. It was not until my junior year that it finally dawned on me — this stuff is really depressing.

I grew up playing every sport under the sun but stuck to lacrosse, rugby, soccer and basketball in high school. Basketball was always my passion and my favorite sport to play.

After spending four years immersed in crafting endless research papers and dissecting Excel statistics, it became clear that I really enjoyed writing and analyzing data and I was pretty darn good at it too. 

The question that lingered was how to channel my writing abilities into a meaningful pursuit.

Then came the idea of sports journalism. It’s a career that I never even considered as a possibility until I felt that I was at the end of my ropes with my previously destined one. 

I never thought that I would willingly add another year of academics to my agenda, but there I was on my first day at ASU’s downtown Phoenix campus in 115-degree heat. Again, I questioned what I was doing. 

During my time at Cronkite, I had incredible opportunities reporting at the 2023 NBA Summer League, the men’s and women’s NCAA Golf Championships and have written incredible stories on topics that I am very passionate about including the LBTQIA+ community, women in sports and mental health in sports. 

Now, thankfully done with school forever and three degrees under my belt, I have never been happier and more excited for what is in store.

Rounding back to why we are all here, ASU is hoping to post its second win of the season this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in a “Black Out” game against Oklahoma State at Sun Devil Stadium. I will be there and I hope all of you will be as well.

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