Barbara Alberts: Putting on my big girl pants

Media Credit: Olivia Anderson | Photo Editor

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

There is nothing quite as thrilling – or terrifying – as vying with other sports reporters for the opportunity to ask a question in a press conference.

When I first joined staff as a contributing sports editor, I often found myself intimidated by the very notion of holding a microphone and asking a question in front of a room full of both professional reporters and my peers. So I would often defer to others to ask the questions I myself had scribbled down in my notebook because I was terrified to make a mistake.

When it became my turn to lead the section, I knew I was stepping into a role that had been occupied by writers who had gone on to cover Super Bowl champions, or become one of the most recognizable names in politics, and I truly felt the pressure of trying to keep up the level of excellence former sports editors set before me.

So I began telling myself in my head, “OK, Barbara, it’s time to put your big girl pants on, you have a job to do.”

It became the little weird, embarrassing, mantra I told to myself before nearly every presser during my tenure as sports editor.

Becoming sports editor for The Hatchet taught me to be fearless and confident in everything I do. It has taught me what it means to be a leader and the responsibility that comes with having other people relying on me to help them succeed.

It was a daunting task to take on.

But eventually, as I grew into my job as sports editor, the press conferences became easier and easier, until I had to have the microphone taken away from me at my last men’s basketball presser in the belly of the Barclays Center.

Not every part of this job has been fun, nor has it always been easy, but there is nothing that comes close to the satisfaction of seeing a story come together, or a beautifully designed sports page. There have been many tears – of joy, sadness, frustration and exhaustion – shed during my tenure but there have been countlessly more laughs shared, jokes cracked and memories made to make this journey worthwhile.

I am humbled every day by the level of talent and dedication I am surrounded by at The Hatchet. Creating this paper is a team effort and I wouldn’t be nearly the editor or writer I am without the rest of staff behind me. I am lucky to share this moment in my life with you all.

And with that, I say goodbye to the toughest, most demanding, most rewarding job I have ever had.

My heart is full.

Liz “Big Guns” Provencher: Hi, ma’am! We did it! You’ve been in my corner since day one and there is no one else I’d want as back up. To say you are dedicated to your job would be an understatement. It blows my mind that you constantly have a million things going on around you every day and somehow manage to not only get everything done but do it with poise and confidence. I have looked up to you the entire time we’ve worked together, and working with you has made even the latest of nights fun. Whether it is scribbling out basketball guide front page designs at 3 a.m. or chasing down interviews, you’ve always brought a sense of joy to this job. Thank you for being one of my biggest supporters and advocates – I am a better writer, reporter and editor because of you. Thank you for always being willing to read over my text messages and emails. You are a powerful woman with your iced coffee and yellow legal pad at your side, Ms. Priestly. Let’s go grab a drink.

Matt: People told me I had big shoes to fill when I stepped into this role and they weren’t wrong – you set the bar high for me as sports editor and I can only hope that I came close to reaching it. You made this job look easier than it is and I realize now that is a testament to how good you are as a writer, reporter and editor. Everything I know about this job, I learned from you, so I know I learned from the best. Thanks for letting me talk your ear off, ask you every question under the sun and for reassuring me my writing doesn’t suck. Your dedication to this paper is borderline obsessive (remember when we almost crashed on our way to Towson because you were speeding to get us there on time?) but it has played a huge part in what makes The Hatchet a great institution. I’m glad we’ve moved on from the days when I was a mere coworker to you. I may never know what your phone screen says, or where exactly you live (which is a silly thing to keep secret) but I do know this – you have a shoe collection that incites envy in me and way too many black Nike socks. Keep pounding the rock, and get some sleep. I hope I did you proud.

HATCHET FILE PHOTO

Kerri: One of the greatest things to have come out of my time at The Hatchet has been our friendship. I truly do not know how I got so lucky to have had you as my contrib, even if it was only for a short while. Throughout our dynamic duo-ship, you’ve gone from being Kerri Hatchet (reporter) to KerrBear and one of my closest friends. We’ve been through wild holiday parties, parking garage fiascos and everything else that comes with this job and I’m glad you’ve been by my side the whole time. You are one of the most genuinely kind people I know and a light in my life but what impresses me most about you is the way you dedicate 100 percent of yourself to everything you do. It takes a special kind of person to jump out of the shower to cover a blog. The women of Chi O are lucky to have you as their president. Thank you for keeping me in check, keeping it real and keeping me young. I am “in my feelings” writing this. Go Birds. Over-under?

Olivia: Hi bean! Thank you for being the best photo editor a gal could ask for. Watching you lead the photo section game me an example to strive toward as an editor. I’m so happy to have gotten to work with you this year – you have taken beautiful images for the sports section and the paper overall. Thank you for being one of the kindest people I know and for always being down to hang out. I’ll miss our 7-11 hot dog lunches at Tucker Field, our Cook Out dinners on the road, our midnight Carvings runs and our afternoon dashes to Deli. You and Kerri complete The Hatchet Sports Dream Team, and the road to Richmond would have been infinitely more boring had it not been for you. There are very few people in this world I would willingly hop out of a car in the middle of a freeway for but the fact that I almost did it once speaks volumes to how much I care for you. I have had the most fun on our road trips this year and I’m sad to see them coming to an end because they were my favorite part of being sports editor. Love you lady.

Arianna: Hey love! Team Sports and Team Video might occupy the dingiest part of the townhouse but your warm presence made our little, drafty, corner of the basement one of my favorite places to be. Thank you for your kindness this year and for being a light in my life. You are such a skilled video editor and I am beyond impressed by the work you have created. You have amazing hair (it’s a fact) and are a Podcast Queen. I’m happy some of our hardest laughs have been recorded and saved for all of eternity. It’s been a joy getting to know you this year.

Elise: The first time we ever truly interacted together, I was doing your makeup in an Amsterdam bathroom drunk. If that’s not trust, I’m not sure what is. You are an amazing writer, Elise, and I hope someday to be half as good a reporter as you are now. Your presence in the townhouse is refreshing and your love of data is inspiring. Thank you for always lending your ear, giving me a pep talk when needed and reminding me to sleep. I appreciate it.

Cayla: You are one of the most talented reporters and editors I’ve had the privilege of working with and I’m so happy to have gotten to know you this year. I am blown away time and time again by the stories you have produced for this paper and the amount of time you dedicate to making the news section shine. Thank you for your pranks and our standing coffee dates. Whether it’s watching the sunrise in the Strong common room after pulling an all-nighter for investigative journalism, or forgetting how to read, I know that when I’m around you I’m in for a memorable time. You are a force to be reckoned with and I’m so excited to keep reading your byline.

Renee: Hey lady! You have led opinions with poise, confidence and humor and the section has truly flourished under your leadership. Thank you for always being down to grab coffee and chat, and for keeping me laughing. I’m lucky to know you. Kiran, you are a talented writer and I am so excited to see where you lead the section next.

Lindsay and Donna: You two are my favorite power couple of The Hatchet. I continuously forget you are wee sophomores (lol) because of the maturity and poise in which you have both led your respective sections. Your friendship is #couplegoals. Lindsay, I know you were not anticipating becoming culture editor this semester but you stepped into the role seamlessly. Culture has produced some stellar stories under your leadership and your food recommendations are more reliable than Yelp. Thank you for being everyone’s hype woman. Donna, I will miss hearing you laugh to yourself in the corner of the basement. You have brought much joy to the bottom floor.

Graeme: Hi Graeme-pa! The first time I met you on our way to George Mason, I thought you were a sophomore, maybe junior, for the first 30 seconds of our conversation. Clearly, I could not have been more wrong. It’s been so much fun hanging out in the basement this year. Thank you for your constant DM stream of sports highlights and for geeking out with me about soccer. You are an incredibly talented photographer and week after week help make the culture section shine. Thanks for letting me be your hand and ear model. As a parting gift, I will give you this – Wayne Rooney isn’t that horrible.

Emily: You remind me of Grandmother Willow with your sage words of wisdom, use of old-timey idioms and calm demeanor. You have such an amazing eye for color and design, and your outfits give me life. Thank you for always being a source of joy in the basement and for making beautiful teasers for the sports page. Here’s the next question for your Basement Poll: Is cereal a soup?

Zach: If there is one person on staff I would want on a deserted island with me, it would be you and here’s why: if we can survive The Hatchet and Chinese together, we can survive anything. You are one of the most fun people I’ve been around and I’m happy to have had the distinct honor and privilege of being your karaoke partner. The Peace Corps is lucky to have you.

Ethan: Thank you for the best date trip to Annapolis I’ve ever had and for going out of your way (literally) to make sure I tried Wawa for the first time ever. Our time on staff together was short but I’m thankful for the time we got to spend working together.

Nia: You are an absolute ray of sunshine in the townhouse. I will miss your sunny personality and your signature GIFs. You have proven to be not only a great fact checker but an amazing reporter and writer. I look forward to reading more of your stories in the future.

Parth: Congratulations on beating me at my own game. It is official – you are the March Madness King. You are going to be a great SNE next volume. The news section is in good hands.

Kelly and Annie: I’m happy to know that one of you will be the first person on staff to read this. Copy has one of the most underappreciated jobs on staff, but what people do not see is that when the rest of us are up late making last-minute edits, you both are up late right there with us making sure our copy is impeccable. You ladies are the unsung heroes of The Hatchet and I appreciate all of the work you put into this paper.

Olivia D.: My InDesign queen! Thank you for making my pages look beautiful and for putting up with my lack of InDesign capabilities.

Leah and Meredith: Remember that time I used to be on team news with you both? We all started on this paper together and it has been so much fun watching you both succeed in your sections. Recording the podcast has been a blast this year and I can’t wait to see where you ladies take it in the future. Also, Meredith, what’s my last name?

Emily and Belle: Hi ladies! It has been so much fun watching you both grow into the writers and reporters you are today. Your dedication to this section this year has been impressive, and I’m excited to see where you take Hatchet Sports in the next year. It will be a tough task but I know I’m putting my section (read: baby) in good hands. Remember – you both are capable, smart and talented women and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. Work hard, double check everything and please remember to have a little fun!

Sarah: I knew your name before I ever met you. Week after week, I would see your byline on more and more stories – often times above the fold – and would wonder who this star reporter was. You have dedicated yourself to every part of this paper and I’ve never been more confident in your ability to take The Hatchet to greater heights. You are a selfless and caring leader and it shows in the way your reporters respected and admired you as their editor. I am excited to see where you lead Vol. 116 because I know it will be great. Thank you for bringing joy (and dogs!) to the townhouse. I won’t hold it against you that you’re a Patriots fan.

Agam: Before there was Barbara and Kerri, and before there was Barbara and Matt, there was Barbara and Agam, the OG Hatchet Sports Dream Team. Thank you for being the best beat partner with me all those years ago. You have a knack for making your stories both succinct and colorful, and you have produced top-notch work for this section that has pushed me to be a better writer. Thank you for being Hatchet Sports’ best hype man on Twitter and for being a leader on the section. I truly appreciate all the work you have put in for this paper.

Halley: I am convinced it was fate you were my CI leader all those years ago. What are the odds my freshman orientation guide was also on The Hatchet? You have not stopped giving me advice and guidance since, and for that I am so grateful.

Vol. 113

Mark: You didn’t write to me in your 30 and while I have forgiven you for your transgression, it was emotionally scarring. Thank you for taking a chance on me and putting me on the women’s basketball beat. Your decision changed my college experience for the better and I have you to thank for that. Thanks for being a fire editor.

Ellie: You may not know this, but you are a significant part of the reason I stuck around as a reporter my first few weeks at The Hatchet. A day after I had my first story published, I received an email from you with the subject line “Awesome work!” (I still have it starred in my inbox). While I’ve since learned you sent those emails to many a reporter, I cannot tell you how much it meant to me as a shy, new writer to hear that from the HBIC. I’ve always looked up to you and it was fun to get a glimpse at your Fabulous New York Life over spring break. Thank you for your kindness.

Vol. 114

The Copy Desk: Hello, my dears! Live from Washington, D.C. it’s Sunday night! Emma, I still remember the first time you reached out to me asking if I wanted to make dessert and have a movie night with you and Melissa. For some reason or another, I couldn’t make the date but it was the first time I felt like really I had a friend on staff. You took care of me when I was a young, new contributing sports editor and made sure I had a place on this paper. I’m grateful for the time we’ve spent together in and out of the townhouse. Thank you for making me come out with you on Friday the 13th – hope I can return the favor someday. Melissa, thank you for sharing your love of Saturday Night Live with me and for listening to all of my worries and fears during transition. I’m lucky to have you in my life and I am thankful for our time together on staff. Spending time with you and Emma always brightened my Sundays and I’m forever grateful for the laughs we’ve shared. Thank you for the fun.

Justine: Hi bug! I’m sad we never were on Hatchet staff together for long but that’s OK, because out of everyone on staff, I’ve known you the longest. You were my first friend at CI and I’m happy The Hatchet brought us together again. Thank you for lending me your ear when I’ve needed someone to talk to, and for always being down for a cup of coffee. I am constantly in awe of your ability to churn out the best stories and one day hope to be as great a writer as you are. You are going to kill it in Arizona!

Sam: Samuel Iden Hardgrove! You, sir, have an incredibly infectious energy that has gone unmatched in the townhouse since you (finally) graduated last year. The basement has been a little too quiet without you. Thank you for being one of the funniest people I’ve met and for being the source of my hardest laughs in the townhouse. I’m happy the mustache mug made its way to Tokyo. Please follow me back on Instagram.

Andrew: I must confess, one of the main reasons I never went overboard at a Hatchet event is because, and I swear on my life this is true, I always wanted to make sure I could look you dead in the eye the next day. That’s now much you scared me (kidding). I also must confess, I get a little excited every time I see one of your articles on Twitter. You are doing amazing work and I’m proud of the fact that I have the privilege of saying, “I know him!” I’m sad we never got to talk baseball more often when you were in D.C. but there is time to fix that. Go Giants.

Tyler: Mr. Loveless / T$, it has been a joy getting to know you these last few years. Thank you for always telling it like it is and motivating me to stay on The Hatchet when transition was overwhelming me. I have thoroughly enjoyed our conversations and late-night hangouts in the townhouse. You are an absolute hoot.

To the student-athletes and coaches I’ve covered these last three years: Thank you for letting me into your worlds, if only for a few minutes after a game. The only other group of people besides Hatcheters who put more time into their craft are you all and it’s been a joy to watch you compete.

My reporters: I know I said this in nearly every email and at nearly every meeting but I stick to it – you all are stars. This section wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the hard work you all have put in this year. It’s been a joy watching you grow as writers and reporters and I cannot wait to see what you guys accomplish next year. Emily and Belle are lucky to have such a talented group to lead.

To everyone I’ve said the phrase, “Sorry, I can’t. Hatchet.” to: Aka my non-Hatchet friends. Kendall, Isobel, Aly, Melia, Yuka, Robert, Abby, Amber, Lou, Amanda, etc. etc. etc. Thank you for keeping me involved in your lives when mine was such a whirlwind. I know I’ve missed birthdays and get-togethers, and going out on weekends became a rarity, but thank you for understanding what it meant for me to have this job. I may not have been able to see as much of you all as I would have liked this year, but thank you for making sure I got out and had a little college fun every once in a while. You all have been the best cheering section a gal could ask for, and your friendships mean a lot.

Mom and Dad: I might be a little biased, but you are definitely the best parents in the world. Everything I have done would not have been possible had it not been for your love and support. Thank you for being able to talk to me at all hours of the day and for supporting me all the way from California. Everything I do, I do for you. I promise, I’ll get some sleep now. I hope I’ve made you proud.

Ronnie: You are my favorite person to call when I need a laugh and your Snapchat videos never fail to make me smile. Thank you for listening to me rant, giving me a confidence boost when I needed it and for being the most generous person I know. Your drive and commitment to better yourself and those around you inspires me everyday, and I am such a proud big sister every time you take the field. You’re my favorite soccer player, Ronaldinho. Love you.

Jack: If there was a “Significant Others of The Hatchet” support group, you would be president, treasurer, secretary, etc. You are my favorite person to see at the end of a long day, and with my job you know there are many. Thank you for always having food ready when I get home, indulging me with Friends episodes, and for constantly supporting me in every other way I’ve needed (even if that means running out to CVS and making me mac and cheese at midnight). I truly would not have been able to do my job had it not been for you – you’re one of the most important people I’ve met through this paper. Here’s to more bleary-eyed, Saturday morning breakfasts.

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