Christian Hetrick’s senior goodbye

When I was 10 years old, I collected newspapers.

I was a strange kid then (I still am), and I’d dash down the driveway each morning and retrieve the day’s issue. I’d unfold and flip to the sports section, and read about my hero, Donovan McNabb, who would later destroy my dreams by puking all over Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla. during Super Bowl XXXIX.

Some hero.

From then on I wanted to be a sports reporter, and thanks to The Whit, that’s exactly what I am today:  a part-timer at The Philadelphia Inquirer sports department. In some ways, I feel as if I owe an impossible debt to this paper and this staff. It is really the writers, photographers, graphics and section editors who make this paper, and have helped me make my career. Even though I’m a writer, I don’t think there are any words I could use to express my love and gratitude for the mazing people I’ve worked with over the years. Here goes nothing:

Samantha. I’m already over my word count on this thing, so you won’t be getting the proper thank you that you deserve. But just know that you managed to impress me every day, with your brains, beauty, honesty, passion and heart. You’re an amazing person, and I am thankful that I had you as my partner in crime. You have The Shining, even if you refuse to watch the movie.

Jeremy. Did you know you were my favorite? I bet you didn’t. Ask Sam, she’ll tell you. Anyway, you made my job so easy each week with how well you made the arts section. You set a precedent with coverage of Rowan events, and while you do not realize it yet, you have a legacy here because of it. It was an honor to work with you and get to know you.

Austin. I think everyone else here will remember you for your humor, but I’ll remember the hard-working women’s soccer writer who became a close friend and fellow Inquirer intern. You’re more talented than you realize, and I can’t wait to see you on assignments in the fall.

Lauren and Megan. You two are the unsung heroes of the paper; the first to get blamed for an error, the last to receive credit for a clean story. But don’t think you’re hard work wasn’t noticed. That’s why I was so afraid of your protest for less pages, more cookies, etc.

Rob and Lou. Who else could I possibly have a conversation with about topics such U.S. foreign policy or the notable works of Stanley Kubrick? It was nice having a few fellow “intellectuals” around. Keep in touch guys, I’ll miss you.

Kate. You’re the one who makes people pick up this paper. I was always amazed by how quickly you could make professional-quality headlines, illustrations and graphics – all while dancing, snapchatting and patatapping, You’re a freaking riot, too.

Kevin and Erica. You two are more ready than you realize to lead this paper. Leaving The Whit is hard, but knowing I’ll be leaving it in capable hands makes it a little easier. It’s been awesome to see you guys grow as talented writers and editors. You guys are like the little siblings I’ve never had, which is funny, because both of you could totally kick my ass. If you ever need my help, just know I’m always a phone call, text, email, smoke signal, pigeon carrier, etc. away.

I wish I had more to say, but you guys have this writer lost for words (that was corny). You guys were the best staff a writer could ask for. It’s been real, homies.

For comments/questions about this story, email or tweet @thewhitonline.

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