Reporters sit in the pressroom with great anticipation for the announcement to be made.
Equinox reporter Chris Thelin called a press conference earlier that morning and scheduled it for 1 p.m.
As the hour approached, a hush silenced the anxious reporters and photographers.
A door to the left finally opened as Thelin walked through it as flashlights illuminated the room. Thelin took his seat at the microphone on a slightly elevated stage.
He grabbed a sip of water and cleared his throat.
“Thank you for all coming on such short notice,” Thelin said. “I know there is a lot speculation on why I called this press conference today. I have attended Keene State College for four years now. In my four years here I have written for The Equinox, but at this time, it is time to officially announce the end of my career here.”
The reporters were silent. They knew Thelin was the most senior member on the staff, writing for all four years, and that this day was right around the corner.
“It seemed like it was just yesterday where I walked into room 309 in the Student Center for my first general meeting with dreams of being the best damn sports writer this school had ever seen. I had worked for my high school newspaper, if you could call it that. It was a monthly periodical where I wrote one or two articles per issue.
I remember my tour at KSC. As I picked up a copy of the then current issue of The Equinox. I thought to myself, ‘Wow. I am going to get to work for a real newspaper.’
Thelin stopped to take a deep breath and gather his thoughts as reporters ferociously jotted down their notes.
“The butterflies were flying around my stomach as I talked to then sports editor Jeremie Smith. On September 7, 2007 my first two articles came out the opening day of men’s soccer and pick my Super Bowl winners for 2007. Stupidly, I picked the Chargers,” as Thelin and the reporters had a quick laugh.
That was the beginning of my career.
Almost four years have gone by. I wrote over 100 articles and conducted countless interviews.
Some of those turned into everlasting memories and learning experiences, and others that made me doubt myself as a journalist. I saw myself grow as a writer. My first article was assigned to be 650 words and I remember struggling to meet that mark.
Now if I don’t write at least 1000 words, I feel as if I didn’t tell the whole story. Although I bitched and moaned about the legwork needed to make a story, I hope I didn’t fool you.
I loved writing for this newspaper. I always tried to take a story and help out any editor who needed space filled. I loved talking to the athletes and the students here.
I loved listening to their stories and then telling everyone about them. Unfortunately, those days have come to an end and I have come here to announce that this will be the last article I will write for the paper I love so much. I will now field any questions.”
A reporter in the front row jumped up, waving his pencil in the air. “What is your best memory of a Keene State College game?”
“Ha, that’s an easy one,” Thelin said, as a big smile grew on his face. “It was my first story assigned as the Owls took on the Ithaca College Bombers.”
The Owls were a favorite team in D-III sports that year and the sky was their ceiling.
Unfortunately, the Owls started off on the wrong foot and lost 4-2.
After the game I quickly walked over to the trailer and waited for Head Coach Ron Butcher to come out and give me his comment.
Being new, I didn’t know there were proper ways of talking to Butch. ‘Coach,’ I said, ‘looks like the game didn’t turn out as planned!’ Butch quickly turned his head around and looked me dead in the eyes and said in assertive voice ‘You’re damn right it didn’t!’ My stomach sunk and my confidence dropped as I was caught so off guard. I was barely able to finish the interview.”
A female reporter slowly raised her hand in the back. “What was your favorite team to watch while here at Keene?”
“Oh jeeze, that’s a tough one,” as Thelin trailed off. “If I had to pick one particular team, I think I would have to choose this year’s basketball team. Although, at times they were frustrating to watch as they lost games they should have won, they were always entertaining to watch. One of the best games I saw was the Little East Conference semi-finals.”
Unfortunately, there was a huge snowstorm that prohibited my friends and me to travel to the game so we streamed it live from our house.
As we watched the back and forth game, we kept yelling at the 14-inch monitor.
Unfortunately, we came up a little short in the end but I was proud to be a member of KSC. Luckily, they’re a young team and I have faith they’ll get it done next season.”
Another reporter stands up. “Is there anyone you would like to thank?” he says.
“There are too many people who I would like to thank,” Thelin replied.
First of all I’d like to thank Professor Rodger Martin. I remember taking his class and receiving 25s and 30s on my homework, and it really humbled me.
I was always told how great of a writer I was and it was humbling and motivating to see damn, I really suck.
Also, Jeremie Smith deserves a special shout out. When I first came here, I didn’t know anything about the AP Stylebook.
He took the time to train me and patiently helped me out in becoming a better writer. I would also like to say thanks to some the most important people, the coaches, and players of all these teams. They always took time to talk to me after games or in between their busy schedules.
The coaches are some of the classiest I have ever had the chance to meet and it truly reflects on their players. A special shout out goes to all the photographers and copy editors who worked so hard to help me look better than I was. Finally, I would like to thank all my friends who I met through The Equinox.
I have made countless friends through this organization. Some have lasted, others have faded, but each one is special in her or his own way.
From making me laugh to picking me up when I want to quit, they were the best, and a driving force to help get me where I am today, as a writer and as a person.
“One final question, where are you going from here? More importantly are you scared?” a reporter asked.
“I will be moving back home with the parents to Maryland and will start looking for a job, any job really, from journalism to working in a bank. Maybe I’ll go back to school or maybe I’ll go down to the Caribbean and become a bartender.”
While some of the 2011 class is freaking out about the next step or leaving their friends, some words from Lupe Fiasco helped put me in an optimistic mind set while walking across that stage to receive that very expensive sheet of paper;
‘And let the evidence show, the future is so bright, it’s never been more, not like tonight, walk into the glow and right into the light.’
Congratulations to the class of 2011 and thank you Keene State, it’s been real.
Chris Thelin can be contacted at email@example.com