It’s ironic. As a journalist, my single most important job is being able to come up with words to express events and feelings. And yet, here I am, writing the column that will try to sum up my last two years of being involved in The Equinox, and I’m struggling.
For two years I’ve been able to vent, research, express, and debate every single sports-related thought I had, but when it comes to trying to express the importance of the organization that’s been priority number one, I’m coming up shorter than a Brett Favre picture message. Oh well, at least I still have my wit and maturity.
In all seriousness though, I truly believe that with every word a journalist writes, he or she gives away a piece of himself or herself for the world to judge. I always wrote from my heart and accepted any support or rejection with open arms.
I did the math the other day and it’s actually a bit concerning just how much the newspaper meant to me. Over 3,000 hours I’ve spent during the last two years cooped up in an Equinox office built for far less people than filled it, and at least once for every one of those hours I wondered why I chose to give my college hours away to such a thankless job.
Perhaps it was my need to think I’m teaching people things, perhaps it was the thrill of knowing that there was a chance that more than the three consistent readers that I have would pick up the paper and flip to my section, or maybe it was my never-ending search for approval. I’m still not sure what drew me to make such an unbelievably strong connection to the paper, but I’ve never regretted taking the leap.
I truly believe it was fate. I came into my position by pure chance. The sports editor prior to me was fired a month into the academic year for reasons The Equinox would rather me not repeat. At the time I didn’t even know we had a school newspaper. I had transferred to Keene the semester before and was still searching for my niche in the school.
Even having said all that, I still never would have applied had it not been for that point in time’s Executive Editor Brittny Lopresti. She was my RA at the time and came to my door to ask me to apply. She knew I loved sports and knew I was journalism major.
I said no. Fate slapped me in the face and I said no. Lucky for me, Brittny is persistent. She convinced me, I applied, and against all odds I got the job. I probably shouldn’t have.
I’d never written for the paper. Hell, up until a couple days earlier I didn’t even know we had a paper. Chris Thelin, a long time sports writer for the paper, applied too. It should have been his job, but I ended up with it. I was determined not to blow this opportunity.
The first week I was officially the sports editor, the e-board took a trip to Austin, Texas. I spent 4 hours a day that entire week in the office alone, teaching myself the programs needed to be successful. I was determined to show them that they made the right decision. By the time they got back I had already learned everything I needed.
Early into my first year as sports editor, I received a hand-written letter in the mail thanking me for the work I’d done involving a story and for my kindness in sending extra papers and photos after publication. For over a year and a half now, that letter has hung above my work area as a reminder that what I do matters and the amount of effort that I put into my work doesn’t go overlooked.
This year’s e-board was a group that not even the greatest writer in the world could put the right words to. Man, did we start off on the wrong foot.
We took a lot of heat this year, and it started right away. Our first newspaper was sent out four hours later than it was supposed to be submitted for print. Stress was at a high and knowledge was at a low because of the number of new e-board members we had.
There were complaints from KSC staff and community for large-scale changes within The Equinox. Things were said within our office walls that certainly can’t go to print, from me specifically. I nearly burned some bridges and some friendships that I now cherish, and I’ll never forgive myself for that. To those people involved, I truly hope you know how sorry I am and how much you mean to me.
As the year progressed, so did we. Trial by fire (or firing) was proving to be the method that helped us grow. By second semester we were putting out the same level of papers that had helped us win awards in years past.
And then we went to Hollywood for a journalism convention.
Hollywood, to this point, is probably the best five days of my life.
It was absolutely perfect. Here we were, close friends all rooming together in a hotel right next to the Kodak Theater, walking distance from downtown L.A., a peak out the window from the world-famous Hollywood sign, learning everything there is to know about journalism from some of the most prestigious writers in America. We got to Hollywood thinking we were just like every other college newspaper in America. Holy crap were we wrong. If you think we’re weird, you should see some of the other schools.
It was on that trip that I truly believe we all went from friends to family. The memories we shared are indescribable. Luckily, there’s a video that captured some of them. It’s definitely going in my scrapbook.
Once we returned, though, it was back to reality, and a very harsh one at that. The realization that we only had a limited number of papers left before we graduated hit us like a sack of bricks. A new e-board needed to be voted on and trained.
I got lucky with my replacement. Ryan Glavey has been writing for me for almost a year and a half now, and he’ll replace me as the sports editor for the paper. I’m confident he’ll have no problem taking over the sports section and all you readers should be excited for what he can bring to the table.
Most of the e-board will agree that this newspaper means too much to me. Our business manager came up to me at the bar a couple weeks ago and said to me “You know what, Steiner? I bet if you could graduate and still be the sports editor, you would.”
I paused, not to debate my answer, but more to try to convince myself that I wasn’t going to respond the way I wanted to. But alas, he was right; I would do it in a heartbeat.
But now we’re back to why.
It’s hard to explain the connections you make with people under the amount of stress we faced every week. Spending 30 hours together in three days is tough, but honestly, it’s what made us so close. We were all working toward a common goal and that was to inform in a manner that did justice both to the story and to the college.
We all had our roles and played them perfectly, and that’s why we were so successful. The overly optimistic, the overly pessimistic, the occasionally alcoholic but always responsible father, the jokester, the looker, the quiet worker, the underappreciated whipping boy, the dorky one, the wannabe badass, the loveable grandfather figure, those next in line to take on responsibility, and myself, the one who willingly took all the crap.
I laugh at that last one as I write it because I can hear everyone’s response to it already, but it’s true.
I’m known to be an underachiever, which is a trait I don’t particularly like, but it’s true. But under that, I was more meticulous and worried about every single word in my section than people realize.
I embraced taking the crap, though, because if we aren’t together we’re apart, and I was fine with people being together in their thoughts that I was a slacker and complaints that I was always the last one with my section done because it brought unity. Unfortunately, a very strong, harsh unity at times, but unity nonetheless.
I love this paper more than anyone really knows. But it’s not the paper in itself; it’s the things that come with it.
The unbelievably close (most of the time too close) friendships I made and the memories I’ve had. The conversations that have been had over our beat-up table in the middle of our office, ranging from how to cover certain stories to who in the room has the best dance moves.
It’s the quotes we put up on the wall from editors who have completely lost their mind and said some of the stranger things I’ve ever heard in my life once we reach the 2 a.m. production night brain fart. It’s the hours we spent in that office when we didn’t even have a paper coming out, but it was the only thing we really knew.
The fights, the relationships, it all came together to create a beautiful symmetry that, unless you’ve been there, you have no idea what it’s like. Knowing that you’d give money out of your pocket or the shirt off you back for someone you’re not related to, and that they’d do the same for you in a heartbeat is a special bond.
For the last year, this e-board was my family, and that, to me, is why leaving it behind will be so difficult. It truly is like moving out of home. There are a couple people I’d like to thank before I sign out this last time.
My mother, for providing me with my unquenchable love of sports and my love of reading and writing. My father for teaching me the responsibilities needed to be successful. My brother for providing comic relief whenever I needed it.
My copy editors for always helping me get my point across as clearly as possible.
My photographers, specifically Jesse, Will, and Chris, for providing me with some of the greatest sports photography a college newspaper has ever seen; you’ve truly been a blessing. Brittny Lopresti for convincing me this would be a good use of the last two years of my college career.
A special thank you to professor Julio Del Sesto, our newspaper adviser. You always did the perfect job shooting down my ideas rudely enough that I wouldn’t go through with them, but politely enough that I never stopped trying. Thank you for meeting with me, working with me personally, and believing in me like I know you do, whether or not you’re willing to admit it in front of the journalism faculty or not.
To all the athletes, coaches, and staff on campus, thank you for always clearing time to talk with me or my writers. I hope all my jobs from here on out provide me with people as friendly and understanding as you’ve all been.
Finally, a huge thank you to you, the reader, for listening. Although I rarely heard back from you, you acted as a type of therapist for me to vent to and quietly listen to my problems. I hope you enjoyed my time as sports editor as much as I did.
To Brett Favre and Lebron James, I still hate your freaking guts and I always will, whether it be in a forum that produces 2,500 newspapers like The Equinox, or in my living room screaming at the TV. Every single thing either of you does makes me angry, and it always will. Thank you for being you.
To the rest of the graduating e-board, I love you all and I’ll never forget the times we shared. I wish you the best of luck.
To all graduating seniors walking this weekend at KSC, I wish you all the best in your endeavors.
Thanks for everything,
Mike Steiner can be contacted at email@example.com