Elizabeth Traynor: It’s a hell of a job

Media Credit: Jordan Emont | Photo Editor

Elizabeth Traynor wrapped her two years as sports editor with countless bylines under her belt, but is still not totally sure what ‘raise high’ means.

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.

Throughout my tenure, the one scenario that, without fail, left me breathless was watching the clock as a tight game wound to a close. I marveled at the players’ ability to stay focused while the seconds literally ticked away before them.

It’s extraordinary to feel as though time is trickling down without your consent. For much of this year, I’ve felt that way each time I’ve exited 2140 G Street, home to the best decision I made at GW.

What drew me in? The stories. I’ve been lucky enough to help countless stories come to fruition over my two years as sports editor. And in doing so, I constructed my own Hatchet narrative, one that – through smiles, tears, heartbreak, love, lots of writing and even more coffee (hi, Joe! Can I get a Deli bagel?) – was a ground-shakingly powerful experience.

I wish I could adequately tell you how much The Hatchet was worth it. I wish I could tell you how intensely I love this newspaper. I wish I could tell you how this two-story building became my home, the old volumes of newspapers on its shelves became more powerful than my textbooks and the couches became my favorite napping spots.

I wish I could tell you how much fun I had on road trips, how I secretly didn’t mind being banned from being the car’s DJ by Louis and Vik because they always had better music anyway, and how writing in the bowels of an unfamiliar basketball arena became some of the best moments of my collegiate career.

I wish I could tell you how walking into this townhouse defined my entire past four years. But all I can adequately tell you about are the stories.

***

There wouldn’t have been any stories without subjects.

To the teams that allowed me into their worlds, especially to the coaches and players who consistently treated my reporters and me with respect, I am infinitely grateful.

I would especially like to extend my gratitude to Patrick Nero and Mike Lonergan, and the players and staff of the men’s basketball team for answering my questions for multiple seasons, allowing me to cover their journey and aiding my growth as a reporter and writer.

Thanks, too, to the posters on GW Hoops, particularly Bob Poogach and Steve Hadley, who kept me honest and kept reading.

***

There wouldn’t have been any stories without a phenomenal editorial staff.

Those who came before me, I don’t think I ever fully stopped to appreciate the work you did in crafting the institution that’s meant so much to me. I’ve been lucky to get to know some of you and count you among my friends.

Viktors, you are, simply put, a lifesaver. Thank you for being such a great friend, for picking up a camera when I’m panicking about coverage and for always answering my frantic text messages even though you’re in an entirely different city.

To Alberg and Dan, thanks for being two of the greatest supports I could have asked for. Alberg, our GChats are often among the bright spots of my day. Your advice is always some of the best. Dan, your talent intimidated me as a freshman and it still does to this day. Thank you for taking the time to share praise, criticism and guidance. I lucked out with my predecessors.

To all of my writers – thank you for making my job easier and for putting in solid effort beneath every byline. I’d like to extend special thanks to Brennan, who turned into my friend despite all of the work I made him do, and who was often the breath of fresh Masshole air I sorely needed.

Nick, I couldn’t have picked a better assistant. Watching you grow and develop a love for this paper was the best part of my senior year on staff. I’ll never be further than a phone call away, but I’m confident that you’re going to be the Tom Brady of The Hatchet without my help.

Annu and Jordan, we all came on at the same time, and we’re bowing out together, too. Thanks for being with me on this crazy ride. Lisa, go run New York, you biddie. We’ll all miss you in the District. Justin, Jenna, Nick Rice and Patrick: keep inspiring people. You’re all good at it.

Karolina and Serena, thank you for all the work you put in for the newspaper this year. I don’t think either of you ever got enough of the recognition you deserved.

Amanda and Ermey, I’m sorry for all of the copy mistakes. I’ll probably call you in the future for just one more reminder on lead vs. led. And Ermey – you are sneakily my favorite person, even though you’re a Philly fan.

Dev and Connor, staying at 2140 late into the night was always better when you were there. Jennings, thanks for schooling me in the ways of music. Oh, and Dev? Someday, I’ll talk you, too, into getting a hockey-themed tramp stamp in Ocean City.

Cory, make it wicked good next year. I know you will. To the rest of team news – keep on keeping everyone honest. And world, watch out for Chloe. That girl is a firecracker.

Gabe, don’t ever stop writing or loving divas. I still firmly believe that you are the most deserving person of a reality show I’ve ever met. Yes, that’s a compliment.

Priya, it’s been a joy to be double coworkers. Thanks for sitting next to me in class, for forgiving me when I got exasperated at late night prodo, and for working as hard as you did this year for the newspaper I know you truly love.

Any writer worth her salt gets pushed around by a better editor from time to time, and I’d like to thank Lauren French for being both my friend and my boss – the boss I’ve cared most about impressing. French, I wish I could put this more eloquently, but I think you know: Thank you for everything.

To Turley and Radler – my golden girls, you kept me laughing, you held me when I cried and you definitely supplied a lot of necessary wine and chocolate. You light up every room you enter. Don’t lose that shine.

Louis, you’re going to call me a dork for this, but I’ve re-written what I want to say to you countless times. You are perhaps the person most influential in teaching me how to find my voice and run this department, and, in turn, became someone I feel truly lucky to count as a friend. Thank you for taking a chance on me three years ago, and thank you for the unfailing support and advice you’ve since dispensed daily. I won’t thank you for all those tequila shots, though.

Ferris, you are so incredibly strong. You inspire me daily and I can’t wait to see next year’s product. I’m proud to be your friend, and I love that you and a certain production girl will always be my country partners in crime.

Allison, you’ve been my rock this year. Thank you for adopting me into your room, for always being around for a frantic conversation, for baking all those cookies and for coming into my life in a way that I can’t imagine how I ever made it without your friendship.

***

Lastly, while it’s easy to reduce The Hatchet to a staff box and the subjects within its pages, in between the lines are the countless people who offer support and keep us editors sane when we want to be with something, anything, that isn’t related to a newspaper.

There wouldn’t have been any stories without the friends and family who knew me as something more than a byline.

To the Wolfpack: I literally don’t think anyone makes me laugh as much as you. You’re all my family, with or without foam coolers.

To the boys of PSK – you know who you are – thanks for being the world’s most entertaining support system. I call next.

To the 808 group: Froggy though? Know that I love you all more than I can put into baked goods.

Meryl and Michelle, I’m sorry for all of the girls’ nights I missed for breaking news. You’re the most lasting relationships I have from GW – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Eric, thank you for finally teaching me to snap my fingers. Thank you for believing in me more than I believe in myself and for never failing to make me smile. You’re the best. And yes, now I have no reason to check my phone during dinner.

To my big, wonderful, loving family, thank you for making me feel blessed beyond words. Aunts, uncles, cousins and Granny, Grandma and Papa – I love you.

Christopher, you are the best brother in the world, and now the world knows what sort of outstanding person you are, too. I’m so proud of you I could burst, and I can’t wait to watch you graduate, move onto college and continue to rack up accomplishments.

Mom and Dad, everything I do is to make you proud. Dad, thank you for teaching me to cook, to love music, to love hockey – thanks especially for that – and for reading all of my articles (and even coming to a few games). Mom, you are my role model, my hero and my best friend. Your support, your energy and your successes astound me. I love you both, so very much.

***

Atop a cabinet in The Hatchet’s townhouse is a quote from Warren Harding that reads “My God, this a hell of a job!”

And it was. Thanks for reading.

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