The Daily Collegian brought me memories that will last a lifetime

There are a lot of people to thank, but I especially want to thank the entire staff

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Ana Pietrewicz / Daily Collegian

By Frederick Hanna III, Assistant Sports Editor

I entered the University of Massachusetts my freshman year with a major in economics and didn’t give a thought about writing for the student newspaper. I didn’t even know what the Collegian was before I came, I never wrote for my high school newspaper and I didn’t know anything else during my first couple weeks. All I knew was how to get to class on time along with how to check the menu for late night at Berkshire Dining Commons.

Everything changed when I went to the activities fair in the fall of 2018. It was a few weeks into the semester and I decided to go because I wanted to try something outside of the box. I walked around the fair for a decent amount of time with nothing really popping out to me. That was until I stumbled upon the Collegian’s stand, decked out with prints of newspapers. I was sold on going to the all-staff meeting and wrote down the date and time in my phone.

I was hooked into the idea of joining the Collegian when I saw the printed newspapers and imagined my name being on it one day. I went to the all-staff meeting the following week, which was crowded with students in the former office down in the basement of the campus center. It was hot and muggy out and I was drenched in sweat after my hike from Southwest Residential Area. I didn’t know anyone there, but quickly made small talk with a few other students.

Amin Touri, then the sports editor, gave his pitch for why we should all join the sports section and mentioned that anyone interested could break off into the corner with him and Tom Haines. So, when the quick spiels from all the editors were over, I headed over to the sports section.

I was shocked to be met with welcoming arms as someone who wasn’t a journalism major and had no prior experience writing for a newspaper. I was the only one who went over to the section, and luckily enough, it quickly turned into the three of us talking everything sports. I wasn’t nervous anymore and I was drawn in by the countless stories and road trips Tom and Touri told me about.

They told me about their road trip down to Washington, D.C. to cover the men’s basketball team, and little did I know at the time that I would be making that same trip during my senior year with Joey Aliberti, Pedro Gray Soares and McKenna Premus. Four years after that meeting in the corner of the office, I experienced the best road trip of my time at the Collegian.

In the spring of my freshman year, I was placed on the baseball beat with Noah Bortle, Evan Marinofsky and Ethan Nash. I didn’t get a chance to write much that fall or winter, and I was beyond excited to cover a sport full-time in the spring. The memories I made covering that team still stick with me to this day. From the freezing cold doubleheaders on Saturdays in April to experiencing my first road trip with Noah and Ethan when we covered the Beanpot Championship at Fenway, these are memories that will last with me forever.

Entering my sophomore year, I contemplated in the summer time if I wanted to stick with the newspaper. My major was getting more challenging and I didn’t think I would be able to balance my classes and the Collegian. I didn’t take a beat in the fall and covered occasional games here and there when I had time. It was that fall that changed everything for me with the Collegian.

In early October, I was approached by Touri and Javier Melo to join the men’s basketball beat with them. I was stunned to say the least. I didn’t know at the time how I earned that opportunity considering I had only covered one team prior to that semester. I guess my baseball coverage must’ve been stellar content.

That year covering the men’s basketball team with them was one of the most memorable years of my life. Joined by Parker Peters, the four of us went on road trips covering games with the commutes being filled with nonstop soccer banter and debates over music.

In that span from October to March, I learned more about myself as a writer and learned more from Javier and Touri about how to be a better journalist than any other class I took. The two of them are some of my closest friends to this day and we still banter with each other over our love for the soccer teams that we follow.

Fast forward two years later, and by the fall of my senior year I had two years of experience under my belt covering the men’s basketball and I was interviewing Julius Irving, John Calipari and Marcus Camby following their statue ceremony. I was speechless to say the least. Alongside me was Joey and Lulu Kesin, the Collegian’s current sports editor.

It’s bittersweet looking back on my senior year. Being away from everything on campus and covering sports games on Zoom throughout my junior year was tough, but it made it all the worthwhile when I returned to campus in the fall of senior year. At first it was an adjustment going from the coziness of the old office into the new setup down in the student union, but quickly things felt like home. I was an assistant editor for the first time, and made lifelong friends with Lulu, Joey, Colin McCarthy and Kevin Schuster.

By the end of my time at the Collegian, I interviewed UMass men’s basketball legends, covered an Atlantic 10 Championship in D.C., wrote about the firing and hiring of new a basketball coach and made memories that will never fade away.

I am beyond excited to see what’s in store in the coming years for the Collegian. There are so many talented writers. I may not write for a newspaper again – though I will never say never – but I will always be reading stories from the Collegian. There are a lot of people to thank, but I especially want to thank the entire staff. And to the people who followed me on Twitter and read my stories, that meant the world to me. It was the coolest feeling interacting with you through tweets and thank you for always sharing my stories.

I don’t know what is next for me, but I am certain that I will be saving the date for the next alumni event on my calendar as soon as possible.

Frederick Hanna III was an assistant sports editor. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @FrederickHIII.