A Canadian dancer named Karen Kain once said, “surround yourself with people who provide you with support and love and remember to give back as much as you can in return.” Honestly, I don’t think I can ever give back what The Rocket, the staff members, contributors and our adviser have given to me. Outside of everyone boosting my ego on a regular basis (as if my head needs to get any bigger) and the wonderful compliments that I appreciate so much (that I still don’t understand what everyone sees 80 percent of the time), this organization has helped me become a better me. While only half of my undergraduate career was spent on The Rocket, it happened fast, and honestly saved my life.
When I stopped playing football and really just felt like I had nothing left, it was The Rocket that gave me so much reason to do more. I don’t think I ever actually told Dr. Zeltner how much he has influenced my life. From our first conversation of him telling me to go find a position as a contributor and pointing me to the then-sports editor and assistant sports editor, Ryan and Cody, to telling me to apply for a position, to thinking my writings were worthy enough to receive awards, he gave a kid who had lost hope in himself and felt like no one in Slippery Rock believed in him, in very little words and so many more actions, everything he had lost once again.
So after I turn my life around, doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing and attempting to be some sort of a normal person, I get this position as assistant sports editor for the next school year. Cool, right? Initially, it wasn’t. Now these two guys, Ryan and Cody, who all I had to do was send emails or text messages to about stories for a year, I actually have to interact with on a daily basis. Ryan moved up to editor-in-chief and Cody to sports editor. I don’t have a problem with interacting with people at all, but in a new work environment where there was so much chemistry between the two, I didn’t know how we would outdo, let alone duplicate, what they had in the previous year, but it wasn’t hard.
These men didn’t just become my coworkers/overseers, they became my friends. I couldn’t have asked for a better EIC and wouldn’t have wanted anyone but him — Sorry Cody, not my EIC, not my Rocket. And, he may not ever let me live down our haunted house experience and the fear that I had that day, but it was one of our many funny moments that I’ll remember forever. I say Cody not being my EIC very sparingly, because without him, what the sports contributors and I have done this year would have never happened. Not only were we able to have an award-wining edition that came from his leadership, but he has been my co-host on the best college sports show in the country. Whoever my co-host will be in the future has a lot to live up to.
I could continue to go down the list of staff members and what they’ve done for me, from Dan constantly making me laugh to scaring Victoria on a daily basis, but what the entire staff has done for me has given me the confidence I once lost and a group of friends that have pushed me to be the best me I can be. They may have pushed me a little too far and will be credited for the monster that is now me, but, I’m extremely grateful for having these people in my life and can confidently say that there will never be another Rocket staff like this one.