By Jack McLoone
People tend to be surprised when I tell them that I never planned on writing for The Fordham Ram when I came to Fordham. For those people, I have two things to say: 1) Do you think you know me? Buzz off. 2) It’s not like I’ve ever been so good at this writing thing that you can’t imagine me doing anything else; ask our copy team.
But it’s true. I came to Fordham in large part to join the sports department at WFUV; I signed up for The Ram on a whim after having a “meh” (there’s that “good writing” again) experience at my high school’s newspaper. But for some reason, I decided that writing about sports might also benefit my work at WFUV. But here I am, over three years later, and that relationship between what I do at The Ram and what I do at WFUV has totally flipped. Thanks to The Ram, there are full months where I don’t go to WFUV, and while I miss it, there’s nothing quite like my family in the McGinley basement.
A lot of who I am is because of Anthony Pucik, whether he knows it or not. He is basically the reason I still go to Fordham. Anthony welcomed me into WFUV with open arms even though I was some random freshman who showed up well before any training started—he also let me engineer the first One-on-One I ever sat in on. Not only did he give me an NFL blog in Volume 97, but he also reached out to and told me to apply for assistant sports editor for Volume 98. Any time during those first few months that I wasn’t busy, I was terribly homesick and wanted to leave. Anthony kept me busy; Anthony helped make Fordham a home instead of a weird aunt’s house that you have to stay at because your parents are away for the weekend. I owe him so much. Thank you, Anthony.
To move on from that sappy paragraph (it won’t be the last one!), if I didn’t think I was going to write for The Ram, I certainly didn’t think I was ever going to be in any position of authority. Yet, three years after Anthony asked me to apply for the assistant sports editor position in Volume 98—I didn’t even know I could as a freshman—I have spent a volume in that spot, plus another two as Sports Editor, plus Volume 100, where I added the nebulous “Operations Director” title. Or, as one of our wonderful opinion editors put it: “The Franchise” (this is a terrible, self-aggrandizing nickname, and I love it).
And in those brief moments where I thought I could possibly have a leadership position, I certainly didn’t think I would do anything but sports. But here I am, co-host and co-creator of Ramcast, a co-creator of our newsletter and crossword, a member of our editorial board and shoehorning my way into news coverage that I think I understand but actually don’t.
But above all, the simple fact that I effectively chose writing at The Ram over WFUV still astounds even me. Including this and my Women’s Basketball and Cross Country articles for this issue, I will be up to 176 articles for The Fordham Ram. What started as a gig spinning lukewarm takes about Tom Brady somehow turned into all I do. I’m still over at WFUV from time to time—I’m back there just in time for the start of the Women’s Basketball season—but I’m most at home at The Ram.
The Ram has fully shaped my college experience. From really heightening my Sunday scaries with budget meetings, to preventing any connection with the outside world on Tuesdays to tanking every College Football Saturday for two straight seasons…wait, those are all bad examples. Let me try again.
From giving me a wonderful group of friends to showing me something I love to (and keep this a secret) helping me find something I’m actually good at, our weird little group of basement gremlins is amazing and has set me up for my future. Whether that is a good or bad thing remains to be seen.
I just tried to write out the names of all the people I wanted to thank from The Ram and realized that would require me to type out basically three full mastheads; we just simply don’t have the space for this. So instead, I’ll go with this: To Volume 98, aka the PB&J Crew, thank you for showing my weird freshman self that you can turn a literal hole in the ground into a place you never want to leave. To Volume 99, thank you for deciding to give a kid who openly talked about wanting to get the most ridiculous things published (I often succeeded) an editor position. And thank you to Volume 100 for making me realize that maybe I can handle more than just sports after all.
Some people do get name shoutouts though (no, not Anthony again). Sam Belden, sports editor of Volume 98, thank you for making me learn to swim real fast by giving me the Men’s Basketball and then Football beats as my first true assignments. Pat Costello, you give me mixed emotions, and I don’t want to talk about it. Alvin Halimwidjaya, the same goes for you. To all my other print shop folks, whatever volume it was: each and every one is morally depraved, and I love you all for it.
To my Volume 100 editorial board, Theresa Schliep, Bailey Hosfelt and Taylor Shaw: we’ve all been in this since the beginning, and honestly I can’t believe we’re all still mostly alive; I don’t think any of us could have done it without the others.
Also, maybe most importantly, a shout out to every copy editor who has ever had to read something I wrote. I’m so deeply sorry, especially about every time I don’t use “it” with “Fordham.”
This all feels a bit self-aggrandizing, doesn’t it, taking almost 1000 words to talk about how I got to this point and thanking a bunch of people who you may recognize from a by-line or two? And it is, to a degree, but so is all writing, anyway.
This article is also a testament to the strength of The Fordham Ram, 100 years after its inception. By just writing my name down on a clipboard at a Club Fair in 2015, I found a home at Fordham. And while your home might have better temperature control and hours of operation and topics of conversation and feelings about the Oxford Comma and esteem amongst the student population, you can always find a home at Fordham. I hope your home is “better than most,” too; mine certainly was.