The Last Two Years

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by Samantha Bashaw

by Samantha Bashaw

I had a tough battle with anxiety sophomore year. I was a broadcast journalism major that had no involvement in any sort of student media my first two years at Quinnipiac. I always loved journalism and the world of play-by-play. However, with my growing anxiety and self-doubt, I was afraid to get involved. Now, sitting in a log cabin in the middle of snow-covered Lake Placid 27 months later, the first three sentences of this story are actually quite comedic. I am now happier than ever.

The most important thing about your time in college is to find a purpose, beyond getting good grades or spending time with your friends. It’s about finding the reason you get up in the morning and finding the motivation to put on a belt.

For me, this probably came a few years too late. I started working hockey games in the sports information department my junior year. I was terrible at it. My handwriting was poor and I couldn’t read the numbers on the back of the jerseys. I was a total liability in the booth.

However, I quickly found my niche when my best friend and play-by play partner, Justin Cloutier, texted with me with a simple request—could I write a game recap for the Quinnipiac and Maine game for QBSN. I answered “No” so quickly, but after a little bit more convincing, I decided to do it. Little did I know that decision would change my life.

Since then I have racked up over 60 articles for QBSN, a majority of them about Quinnipiac’s two prestigious ice hockey teams. I changed my major from broadcast journalism to print journalism along the way. I fell in love with writing and quickly realized that as my love for my job and my love for writing grew, my anxiety and self-doubt faded away. I was genuinely happy and ecstatic about everything I was doing.

It’s insane what the power of being involved in something larger than yourself can do for self-morale. To work everyday with not only an amazing crew at QBSN and the Quinnipiac Sports Information Department, but also the ability to work with the kind and giving coaching staffs at Quinnipiac is truly something special.

Along with my feature writing and recaps, I found my niche in the sports information department as I took over control of the social media accounts for the hockey teams during games. For the past two years, I have created GIFs of every single goal that the men’s and women’s programs scored on home ice. The lone exception was Chase Priskie’s goal against Clarkson this past February because a Tonino’s ad ran too long on the live feed as he sniped one right off the faceoff. Tough luck.

There were certainly amazing moments: Anas’ goal against RPI with less than 10 seconds to play, being on the call for the program’s first Whitelaw Cup ever, the highlight reel goals during the National Tournament, the joy of Michael Garteig after he stonewalled Boston College for the final 30 seconds to send his team to the national championship, and the kindness he showed me the morning we sat down to discuss him signing with the Vancouver Canucks, but there was one story that will always be my favorite.

My goal when sitting down to write anything for QBSN was to write something completely different than what everyone else was going to write, and to highlight people who deserved to get the spotlight, even if they didn’t get it all the time.

That precedent stayed true as I sat in the Lightning’s locker room with Tom Hilbrich the day before the 2016 National Championship. We were both sitting there kind of overwhelmed by the whole situation, but we couldn’t have been in better moods. To make things greater, it wasn’t a typical interview. He wasn’t used to interviews, and I was battling a serious stomach virus so the conversation was light and filled with laughs. There were moments when I genuinely forgot I had a job to do as the interview quickly felt more like a conversation.

As a writer, that is one of the greatest feelings in the world, and it served as the “ah-ha” moment of my career. I remember eagerly running back to my laptop to start typing. A few hours later, I sat at the table, by myself in the Amalie Arena, eating cold chicken parm and a piece of soggy Texas Toast that both had been sitting in hot pans for the past four hours. It was the most peaceful twenty minutes of my life.  

Obviously all of my fun couldn’t have been possible without my amazing editors. Their ability to stay in every weekend and help fix my articles, along with everyone else’s, is something that goes unnoticed and underappreciated. Thank you to my parents, Donna and Skip, who allowed me to miss holidays and continued to support me with each-and-every step. And of course, thank you to “Clouts.” If it wasn’t for him, I would have never found my love for writing and would have never had the courage to put on the headset. Thanks for always staying late while I finished up my articles. I owe you, bud.

 

Now I sit in this log cabin, and it’s late into the evening once again, like when most of my stories usually get written. I am tired from 24 hours of driving over the past week to cover two weekends of Bobcats’ hockey, but I can’t get this smile off my face, and that is a great feeling.

For a kid who worried he wouldn’t have days nearly this good a few years ago, I am relieved to find my niche, to find the reason I came to Quinnipiac, but I am most of all lucky to feel the thrill and learn what it is like to cover a team of amazing student athletes.

So with that, I am moving on, and will either be returning to Quinnipiac to pursue my masters degrees in interactive media, and continue my work with Quinnipiac Athletics or I will be continuing my love for social media with a new venture. Yes, I don’t know yet.

However, the moments spent transcribing interviews, endlessly tweeting, writing stories while chewing on cough drops in empty arenas, and delivering play-by-play with Clouts all added up to account for the best two years of my life so far. They have changed me as a person for the better.

Thank you to the coaches and players for the answers to my countless questions during interviews, to Ken Sweeten for all the questions about stats and life at all hours of the day, and to all the families and friends of players who enjoyed reading every story about their loved ones over the past two years. You make the job special.

Until next time.