Student Athlete Column: The Mark I’ve Made


Senior Kaley Bell says an emotional goodbye to the Fordham Ram after four years of contribution. (Courtesy of Twitter)

I remember when I first started this column and was hoping to add something new to the newspaper. I was only a freshman, and I thought I had so many new ideas and perspectives that I could add to the Ram. I had emailed the sports editor at the time and let him know how excited I was to be able to start something new for the paper. The editor emailed me back and basically said, “We’ll see how this works on the paper, but it will likely be only once a month.” This was not the answer I was expecting, but I accepted it and let it happen.

Writing in high school was different from writing in college because everything  I wrote seemed less important than everything else in the paper. I was writing about my experiences on a team, my transition into college and college athletics and everything that came with being away from home. I believed that my work was insignificant compared to the big news stories that were coming out every week during a time when the news cycle was hectic. That was until I submitted my last column for the volume when the sports editor thanked me for all my hard work and noted how my work has really impressed him.

From then on I became confident in what I was writing. I believed that I was impacting someone even if it was just my editor. However, when that sports editor left, I was unsure about the direction that my column would go in. I had met the new sports editor who was unsure if I was even a sports writer. I remember going into that first meeting being asked to move because there was a special meeting that was going on, but the editor had not realized that I was supposed to be a part of that meeting. I took that and kept writing. It wasn’t his fault that I seemed out of place, but I felt out of place and was ashamed to say that was a sign that I did not belong in such a space. 

However, I kept writing. 

Consistency was always something that I took pride in and tried to maintain in everything I did. Discipline and consistency, both big tenets of my track career, had translated into this column that I wanted to last for a long time.

The entirety of my sophomore year, I would write, and the new editor had made this column into something new. The addition of other athletes to the column was a factor that really changed what the sports section was. Now, other athletes were looking at the newspaper and the website as they would see their own writing in there as well. 

Then, COVID-19 hit and production was put to a stop. 

However, I kept writing.

I wrote mostly in a space that is probably lost in the worldwide internet, but it was published and it was consistent. It was something that gave me peace during a time of uncertainty and change.

Then, we came back to in-person classes, and the Ram had transitioned to online production.

It was during this time that I had thought that I could try and make more of an impact than I already had. I applied to be an assistant sports editor and, thankfully, got the position. Last year was an interesting year to be a part of the sports section team as we battled many challenges, and I learned a lot from the whole staff. I did not stop writing during my time on staff.

I’m pretty sure this time marks my last student-athlete column, and therefore my last time publishing for the Ram. This column had become something that I looked forward to writing because it gave me consistency and confidence to get my voice out there. I’m glad other athletes have been able to use this space, and I hope that it continues to be used to highlight the multifaceted lives of students, athletes and student-athletes. Thank you for reading.