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.
No cheering from the press box.
It’s the best-known unwritten rule in sports journalism.
My four years covering the Colonials have required some willpower to follow that standard, from improbable buzzer-beaters in the Smith Center, to game-winning goals on the Vern to walk-off bombs at Tucker Field. It’s hard to stay silent after seeing something so stunning.
Those extraordinary moments are what make sports thrilling, enchanting and infuriating. To be able to translate those emotions onto a page was just as challenging as suppressing them in real-time, but equally as exhilarating.
Since joining staff, I’ve done my best to evolve from a sports fan to a sports journalist, but you can still count on me for an “oh my god” on an insane play or an inadvertent shoulder shrug on a call I disagree with.
Thankfully, though, there’s no rule against cheering for the team inside the press box.
I would be nowhere without the tremendous support I’ve received from my editors, colleagues and friends at this newspaper over the years. They were my own Colonial Army.
Whether it was teaching me how to interview more confidently, edit more effectively, think more critically, write on deadline more efficiently in those empty basketball arenas – I owe it all to the dedicated group of student journalists that surrounded me.
They were also the best company on midnight road trips back from North Carolina, New York and everywhere in between. They kept me focused when the unexpected occurred and getting answers seemed impossible. They even indulged my ridiculous overuse of the latest slang fad. (See: savage, lit, fire, fam).
But I must confess a cardinal sin. I never let it affect my reporting, but deep down, I was always pulling for GW.
Not out of fandom or school spirit necessarily, but out of my desire to see the talented, hardworking student-athletes and coaches I had gotten to know over the years succeed.
It’s hard to imagine that from here on out I’ll be watching games from the stands, sporting Buff and Blue, and not from my familiar media seat, dressed in a suit and tie.
But whatever press box I find myself in down the road, I’ll always be a vocal fan of the greatest team in Foggy Bottom: the GW Hatchet.
Dan Rich | Photo Editor
Colleen: Thanks for making me feel welcome during my first full year on staff. Budgeting with you and Nora was an experience, to say the least. We were clearly the most savage (and maybe tallest) Hatchet prom pair in the event’s history – couldn’t have taped those bottles of champagne to my hands without you. Serial and butt-mugs will always remind me of you.
Zach: You were one of my first friends at the Hatchet, an inviting personality who was always up for some men’s basketball or MLB talk. Fun fact: first photo on the iPhone I currently have is a selfie of you with your Buzz Lightyear sweatshirt on…those were the days. Also tbt to our secret handshake. Sorry, Nora.
Sarah and Sam: Sarah, I’m sorry I never talked much in Ed Board, but I was always so impressed by your knowledge and passion for whatever topic we were discussing. Let’s meet up again at the next women’s march. Sam, our friendship began with a savage selfie at Hatchet Prom 2k15. Nowadays we’re escaping creepy guys at bars with 8-tracks who don’t know how to spell Barack Obama. It’s always fun learn the newest pop culture gossip from you, and send you and Sarah snaps about the Bachelor. You guys really know how to throw a great themed soiree.
Desiree: We first met on a Colonial Army bus ride to George Mason when I was still learning the ropes of the men’s basketball beat. I was with you the only time I’ve ever seen the Rangers make it to the Stanley Cup final. We cheated death together in a Zipcar at Richmond. We had the most lit Halloween costume of all time. And I took you to my first Hatchet prom. Your name comes up in more of my most memorable moments on the Hatchet than most. The third floor has missed you, but I know you’re doing big things in the big city. Brandon and I are still planning our Mustang road trip to see you.
Brandon: B-Lee. Our Hatchet bromance is one for the ages.
My first memory of you is as that kid who brought a bottle of honey-flavored whiskey to Hatchet Holiday and poured me, a stranger, half a solo-cup’s worth. When we had to scour campus for hours looking for ping pong balls later that night, and failed, our fraternal bond only grew stronger.
We had some great times as neighbors in Mitchell thereafter. You could usually find us on your PS4 as you waxed poetic about how the guiding principles of Libertarianism were relevant to the game we were playing. The infamous trip to the printer secured our fate as blood brothers – thank you for keeping us on the road while I live-tweeted it all.
Thank you as well, for your unwavering loyalty as a friend. You’ve always been there to help with everything from the smallest of copy questions to the most complicated personal issues. Thanks for making me watch Game of Thrones, and for explaining the political dynamics of Westeros with hand-drawn maps. I know you have that fancy new apartment now, but you’re welcome to crash on my couch anytime.
Nora: Everything I know about how to do this job well, I learned from you. Thank you for taking me under your wing and believing in me from the start. From small things like inviting me to Nats pregames in Alex’s and Ed’s apartment (also, shoutout to Alex and Ed) and listening to my complaints about the city of Tampa, to big things like bringing me to the White House and helping me land internships, I always knew you had my back.
We’ve been through a lot together as co-workers and friends – made a killer basketball guide, covered an NIT Championship at the World’s Most Famous Arena, dealt with Dan Rich’s pessimism on a day-to-day basis, etc. You’re sincerely one of the best writers I know, and still continue to be one of my biggest role models. I’m amazed (and jealous) by what you’ve already done since graduation and can’t wait to read your Redskins coverage in the fall. But sorry, it’s #notthecapsyear.
Dan: Daniel. What can I say, sir? We’ve been day one Hatchet Sports pals since our infamous van ride to Rutgers. You had your headphones in the whole time and I was writing a paper on the Civil War, but I could tell a beautiful friendship was blooming. I’ll never forget our multiple trips to Pittsburgh (and Primanti Bros.), when you saved our lives by keeping me awake and not letting me accidentally drive into the Pentagon on the way back from Davidson, or your blind hatred for referees. I’m low key going miss you pestering me to go to class, to fill out the budget for the umpteenth time, you pacing behind me during prodo and your Philly sports fandom – sad!. Thanks for always bringing Hatchet sports stories to life – our section would be incomplete without team photo. I know you’ll kill it at Sports Illustrated, but you and Matt should still come visit me in Houston #PMTboys.
Dan Rich | Photo Editor
Ellie: You are a dab in human form. I can’t imagine the stress that goes into running this entire operation, especially as a junior, but you never let it show. Your energy, enthusiasm and dedication to the Hatchet was truly inspirational and made me want to be a better editor. Even though you didn’t come from a sports background, you were always my greatest resource when I needed advice on a story or help finding sources. Reading our group chat with Dan and Matt is the most #savage part of my day, and I don’t think I’ll ever receive a better Secret Santa gift than yours. Thanks for not firing me for being late to budgeting every week and for being a fantastic boss. Also, we still need to talk about S-Town.
Matt: Matthew. You’re a star. If the whole lawyer thing doesn’t work out, you should seriously consider a career in journalism. Your writing ability has impressed me ever since we put you on the women’s basketball beat last fall where you churned out compelling, thoughtful stories again and again. I know you’re sort of an enigma to the rest of the Hatchet staff, but over the course of this crazy basketball season we’ve gotten gotten to know each other pretty well and it’s been a lot of fun. Thanks for taking care of blogs on short notice, even when you’re in class, and for taking initiative on all types of stories and interviews – by the last game of the basketball season, I think you were better at pressers than me. And, more importantly, thanks for being a good friend – tbt to our Uber rides to Northern Virginia and the driver who heard my life story. You’re a smart, capable and passionate editor and I can’t wait to see where you and Barbara take this section. Oh, and keep pounding the rock.
Lillianna: I don’t think I would have survived (or passed) radio journalism without you. You’re one of the coolest people I’ve met at the Hatchet, and I thoroughly enjoyed our discussion on the proper use of the word savage. Your leadership abilities are already shining through – tbt to budgeting – and I have no doubt you’ll be an amazing EIC for Volume 114.
Robin: You’ve been my partner-in-crime at any and all parties. Our summer trips to Mad Hatter and the countless games of pong or slap-cup in my apartment were borderline legendary. Thanks for always having me and Brandon over to play with Mushu (even though I’m deathly allergic to cats) and for your willingness to help me out whenever I need a favor, like sending me pages of a textbook I never bought or offering to let me borrow your rug for a day. Also………..PROM!?!?
Avery and Victoria: You are both the kings of Hatchet social media. Avery, your breaking news reporting on Snapchat has been awesome, and it’s been fun getting to know you more this year. Victoria, I personally liked “Foggy Boton,” but regardless, your Twitter game is certainly strong. I’m down to talk La La Land anytime.
Jacqueline and Eva: I feel like you were both the first people I met on staff from the Class of 2017. A lot has changed since Vol. 111, but you both continue to be staples of the townhouse in my mind, and I mean that in the best way possible. Jacqueline, I always appreciated your advice and suggestions on newsy sports stories, especially for our cover story on the Basketball Guide. Eva, thanks for always helping me take care of Brandon.
Ryan: Sorry that one of our first interactions was me telling your giraffe costume was giraffe AF. You are always such a positive entity in the townhouse, and do so much great work behind the scenes. Thanks for helping plan a great conference and for filling out my distribution checks.
Halley, Blair, Jake: Thanks for letting me practice my sports anchor impression – it was always fun to do a voiceover for you guys. Your section has produced some killer content this year. Keep the Corgi videos coming.
Sera, Elise, Andrew, Justine: I’m not on the second floor much (I’m probably too busy making a ruckus with my chair on the floor above you), but when I am, I always see you guys hard at work. I know the Hatchet is in good hands with you guys leading the newsroom. I’m sorry you have to deal with another SA election next semester.
Melissa S.: Tbh it’s been a lot more peaceful with you behind that desk than it was with your predecessor. Thanks for always being there to correct my many grammatical inconsistencies – i know there was a lot.
Melissa H. and Irene: I kind of regret missing out on all the fun of ed board this year. Even when you were dealt some tough hands, the staff eds you guys produced were always on point. Thanks for both being wonderful third floor neighbors.
Zach, Emily, Anna and Yonah: I’ll be eternally indebted to you guys for the Basketball Guide. It was a true work of art, but I wouldn’t have expected anything less from such a talented team. Thanks for making the sports page look hot each week.
Tyler: You’re the only person I’ve ever met from Mississippi, but also the coolest. Thanks for being on-call whenever sports had an issue with WordPress, and always being a friendly face at the townhouse. Nathan: The website redesign was long overdue and your vision came to fruition perfectly.
Sam H.: Remember that time we did CBC together freshman year?? Good times. It’s been a lot of fun to have you on the third floor this year, I always get a kick out of your and Dan’s back-and-forth. I also appreciated that one time you taught me about Spanish wine. Salud!
Olivia and Ethan: The future is bright for team photo. Ethan, it’s been a blast bringing you along for Philly road trips this year (I think I still owe you some money for that pizza). Thanks for always being a good sport and for taking #fire sports photos. Keep up the good work you two.
Shelby: Your Nissan has made some wild trips in the name of Hatchet sports, and even defied physics that one time in icy Saint Bonaventure, and for that I am forever grateful. Your support in everything I do is a constant motivator.
Mom & Dad: None of this would be possible without you guys. I know I probably don’t say it enough, but thank you for everything you’ve done to get me this far, and for allowing me to follow my passion.
This article appeared in the April 17, 2017 issue of the Hatchet.