Melissa Turley: Making the team

Each year, graduating editors are given 30 final column inches – “30” was historically used to signify the end of a story – to reflect on their time at The Hatchet, published in the final issues of the year.

I am terrible at sports.

But my high school’s mandatory two-varsity-sport requirement landed me in the middle of a soccer field my junior year. To this day, I do not know what position I played, as my coach constantly yelled at me to just stay “somewhere in the back,” explaining that my only job was to try and stop the ball.

I think she was hoping I would just stay out of my teammates’ way.

Not too surprisingly, we never won a game, but we were awarded the “Class D Sportsmanship Award” – hardly a desirable consolation prize.

Despite my career total of zero goals to match our zero wins, I loved the team. I loved team dinners and bus rides, and complaining while running – or in my case, walking – laps around the field in the pre-season summer sun. I loved my teammates, our inside jokes and nicknames that would spill over from the field into the hallways, making me feel like I had a familiar place and group where I actually belonged.

With all the late night prodos, potluck dinners, inside jokes, constant e-mails and phone calls – I talk to Lauren more than I talk to my entire family combined – The Hatchet has become my soccer team. I also think my writing skills are slightly better than my soccer skills, making this team far more enjoyable.

Before the paper, I never felt I had a place where I belonged at GW. I signed up for a dozen clubs during my freshman year Welcome Week – I still get student organization e-mails for meetings I never attend – but I never really followed through. I joined Greek life and loved my sorority, but still felt like I hadn’t found my home away from home.

But 2140 G St. changed all of that. Our quaint and lovably repulsive townhouse has become that home for me, and not just because I spend the majority of my waking – and sometimes sleeping – hours there. It isn’t the walls that make it, but the people found inside.

Priya – Our newest leader, you have some pretty big shoes to fill. Best of luck, and keep a level head. Meow.

Michelle and Francis – You guys are awesome. I don’t know how you do all that you do and make the not-always-easy administrator portraits look great every time. Francis, we will always have Hawthorne Heights.

Josh – My first mate, you were the best contributing editor I could have ever asked for. Hold down the fort next year.

Allison, Madeline and Lauren – The prodo area is the only place where I can happily dance to Justin Bieber, “Call Me Maybe,” Jack’s Mannequin and T-Swift without feeling any degree of judgment. Thank you for making my page as beautiful as you all are.

Lyndsey – Thanks for developing me. You are such an amazing person, and you give me a much-needed dose of nice in my life. I’m so glad we had class together too.

Ferris – You are awesome. I don’t know how you do all you do and do it so well, but I am always impressed and a little astonished.

Andrea – You are truly the funniest person on staff. I can’t wait to visit you in Malaysia with a big bowl of rice for breakfast. Get ready.

Gabe – Oh Gabe. If we were in third grade, I think I would awkwardly send you a “Do you have a crush on me? Circle yes or no” note and you would circle “no,” and I would yell at you, and you would yell at me and then we would be friends. I honestly can’t imagine next year without you, but you are so talented and smart and I know great things are in store. I miss you already.

Radler – This is the one time there aren’t enough words – not even a 1,000-word story to capture how I feel. When we left for Ocean City, I thought I wouldn’t know anyone. I knew I had made the team, but wasn’t sure if I was ready to play. We played, and we played hard. I can’t wait for our adventures to come and to visit you in whatever corner of the world you end up in. No matter where in the world a story takes you, I know you will tackle it with diligence, grace and poise. DTS.

Traynor – I love you even more than I love men’s basketball. Seriously. I don’t know when the sparks began to fly, but it is a fire I never want to put out. You are so smart, beautiful and talented. Don’t ever doubt that. I can’t wait to see what you have in store for next year.

French – You changed my life. I always wanted to be on staff but thought with study abroad, internships and work-study it could never happen. You made it happen – with a lot of pushing along the way – and despite my lackluster knowledge of parallelism, a passionate infatuation with sources and my utter disregard for AP style, you never gave up on me. You weren’t just my editor in chief. You were my shoulder to cry on, the first person to call with a question, the first text after a rough Thursday night and the one who always seemed to have the right answers, no matter if I wanted to hear it or not. Thank you for everything.

To all of Volume 108: Thank you for everything – for the jokes at prodo, hundreds of Whole Foods runs and coffee at Ivory, nights out together and countless hours in the townhouse. You made this the best experience I have had at GW, and I can’t thank you enough for that.

The Hatchet has given me more than I ever thought possible. I have slept on an EMeRG bunk bed, was within 10 inches of Shakira, covered Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke, went to more shows and festivals than I can count and reported on a landmark Supreme Court case.

It defined my time at GW and has begun to define me too.

And the best part of it all? Knowing you’ll always be a part of the team. -30-

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