Dear Trinity Athletes,
Breathe a sigh of relief. My reign of terror is over. Elise freaking Hester is no longer a sports reporter. It is time for my parting words.
I had a ball telling your stories this past year and a half. The time, energy, talent and dedication you give to the games you love and the school you represent is appreciated and valued. I am inspired and amazed by your excellence and commitment, both in athletics and in academics and in every other commitment in your busy lives. Whether you emailed me quotes after a weekend tournament or whether you sat with me for an hour talking about your life, thank you for sharing your time and your truth with me. I hope the way I told your stories brought you joy. To those I am lucky enough to call a friend, I love and value the person you are. Thank you for filling my life with joy.
When I started as a young, innocent, sophomore sports reporter, both sports and journalism were new to me. There was then, as there is now, much room to grow and this experience challenged me in a way that made me better. I’ve learned about the power of words and the responsibility I have in how I use my own. I’ve learned what it means to be brave — sometimes by sharing my own story, but more times by shutting up and listening to someone else’s. And I learned that sometimes courage is recognizing where I have failed and striving to be better.
As long as I can remember, I’ve always had stories to tell, but there weren’t always people who wanted to listen. I have a distinct memory of singing a song to my first grade teacher about how none of the other kids wanted to play with me. It has taken me time to realize that people actually read the things I write and with an audience comes a more visible responsibility to watch what I write. I haven’t always done that.
I’ve messed up. More than once. I’ve written things that I shouldn’t have. Some of those times I’m forced to face the reality that I failed that I have hurt people with my words, a sinking feeling akin to missing the game-winning basket. Anytime I learn that something I wrote hurt someone, I’m always sorry. I’m always sorry, but I can’t feel bad forever. I can’t let fear keep me from moving forward. I can only take each moment of failure as an opportunity to be a better person and a better writer, to live my life with kindness and consideration. I’m sorry for any time I haven’t lived up to that goal and for any time my words didn’t reflect the respect I have for each of you.
My experiences with the sport reporters I wrote alongside — Haley McFadden, Chris Garcia, Shelby Devore, Hayley Wilson and Saul Malek — both on the Trinitonian and also in classes, on committees, at camp, on TigerTV and in friendships are experiences I value and treasure. Every single Julia — Elmore, Weis, Poage and the soccer Julia’s too while we’re at it, why not? — is the love of my life. Markham Seigler is also the love of my life, but imagine I said that while winking. The current sports staff is full of hardworking people who are telling your stories in ways I never could. I can’t wait to work with them and other sections in my new role as video producer.
In making videos to accompany pieces written by our talented columnists, contributors and reporters, I get to exercise my first love. If you didn’t know, I do not want to be a writer, but a videographer. My life passion is telling human stories through sport, and it has been great to do so through a different medium. I’m thankful for each challenge, each misstep, each triumph and every single story. This has been an incredible year and a half. Being a part of this staff and this family is a true honor.
I hope you’ll get to see an occasional sports column from me every once and a while. I’ve covered the World Series the past two years and I will fight to do the same this year, especially if the Astros are back, which they will be. Knock on wood.
And because I can’t end by talking about the Astros:
Thank you for everything. Keep playing. Keep fighting. Keep winning. I’m forever a fan. Go Tigers (and go ‘stros)!