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Unpublished Work By Steve Hofstetter

Steps
By Steve Hofstetter
2000

I found myself, a 15-year-old self-proclaimed sports-writer, sitting on the steps of Low Library during the Columbia Scholastic Press Association orientation.

I looked out at the lawns of Butler Library, and watched a few people playing hackeysack on the grass. I peered up at the blue sky, conceivably bluer than any other New York sky I’d ever seen, and realized why Columbia must have chosen it for a school color. And I leaned back on alma matter, knowing that one day, I’d belong there - and for more than just a few hours on a Tuesday afternoon.

I had the distinct feeling that someday, I’d call this place home. I knew that I had some time before it happened, and that I’d have to work before I got there. But I knew it would eventually happen. It had to.

I found myself, a 17-year-old freshman, sitting on the steps of Low Library during new student orientation.

I had been accepted to Columbia, and after a semester of distraction, I embarked on my journey of becoming me. I immersed myself in two things - my quest to be a professional sports-writer, and my search for a solid group of friends. The two meshed when a fellow journalist brought me into his fraternity. And the two collided when one of my fraternity brothers brought me back into journalism.

I found myself, a 20-year-old junior, sitting in my room over December break, when I received a phone call from one of my brothers.

He’d met a gentleman who was looking for someone with a background in writing, baseball, and computers to fill a full-time position, and my friend thought that I’d fit the bill. Normally, I’d have said my friend was crazy for suggesting that I leave school for a job. But this job happened to be with the New York Yankees.

I found myself, a 20-year-old rookie, sitting in my office in Yankee Stadium.

In under five years, I had reached both my dreams - I attended Columbia, and I had taken the “self-proclaimed” out of sportswriter.

My exact title was “Content Coordinator,” but what it meant was that I was the head writer for the Yankees’ new website. If my friends thought I watched a lot of baseball before, they should have seen me , and began going to every game. I still kept in touch with most of my friends, but I packed up and moved out of my fraternity house and into a place of my own. For the first time, I was paying my very own electric bill, buying my own dishes, and relying solely on myself; I was having a great time.

The past tense in that last paragraph is very important. My leave of absence began turning into a complete withdrawal - from more than just classes.

I found myself, a 20-year-old beat writer, sitting in my hotel room in Anaheim.

I was toward the end of a stretch that would see me work 24 days in a row, and 38 of 40. And the only thing that kept my 70-hour workweeks from turning into 80-hour marathons was the time spent on an airplane couldn’t officially be considered work. I began thinking about where I was going. Or better yet, if I should have began the journey to get there as early as I did.

I was in a unique situation. When my friends asked me if Roger Clemens meant to hit Mike Piazza, I told them that he didn’t, because I could see it in his eyes. When my friends asked me if I thought Glenallen Hill was a good acquisition, I told them sure, and he has impeccable taste in music. When my friends asked me what I thought of Randy Choate’s chances to make the post-season roster, I told them that Choate was a pretty sure bet, because Allen Watson had been throwing hurt all season without telling his coaches, and he’d probably go on the disabled list soon. But I could tell them only over e-mail.

I’d spent the last six months so wrapped up in fitting in to my new world, I was no longer the right size and shape for my old one.

I found myself, a 20-year-old college dropout, sitting on the steps of Low Library, watching the campus half an hour before it would be filled with new students pouring in.

I looked out at the lawns of Butler Library, and watched a few people playing soccer on the grass. I peered up at the blue sky, conceivably bluer than any other New York sky I’d ever seen, and remembered why Columbia must have chosen it for a school color. And I leaned back on alma matter, knowing that one day, I’d be back there- and for more than just a few hours on a Tuesday afternoon.

And I realized then that in my zeal to capture one dream, I never finished dreaming the first - and it couldn’t have helped that I hadn’t slept much since I took the job. I knew that I’d be giving up a lot to return to Columbia. But as everything in the last five years flooded back to me, I realized that I’d be gaining so much more in return. I found what I’d been missing for the last six months. I found my strength, my conviction, my non-superficial happiness, and my utter sense of belonging.

But most importantly, I found myself, a 20-year-old kid, filling out a college application. Most importantly, I found myself.

More Unpublished Work:
*Souvenir (2006)
*How to Stop Being a Clod (2005)
*Long Live the Little Guy (2005)
*I am a Standup Comedian (2004)
*Red Eyes on the Red Eye (2004)
*Twas The Night Before Inauguration (2004)
*Jeez (2004)
*Confusion of State (2002)
*Relapse (2002)
*Cross (2002)
*Global Village (2002)
*Jerry Seinfeld Interviews John Rocker (2002)
*Girlfriend (2002)
*Right of Way (2002)
*Review of My Own Novel (2002)
*Olympic Interlude (2002)
*Botanical Gardens (2002)
*Daddy’s Little Girl (2002)
*Hit (2002)
*Tuning In (2002)
*Be-holding Dad (2002)
*So Long (2002)
*Just a Game? The tragic story of Donnie Moore (2002)
*Tricked Magic (2001)
*Farce and Losing in Atlantic City (2001)
*Keep Our City Clean: Leave Sheffield in LA (2001)
*Saving Silverman: Brain Not Necessary (2001)
*Shadow and Acting (2001)
*II (2001)
*AOHell (2001)
*Primary Day (2001)
*72nd Street (2001)
*Papa Needs a New Pair of Shoes (2001)
*A Brief History of the Jew in the American College Fraternity (2001)
*Just Another Brick in the Wall: The Amsterdam News & Jackie Robinson (2001)
*Steps (2000)
*She is Somewhere (2000)
*Word Play (2000)
*100 Things You Need To Know For College (2000)
*Bad Day (1999)
*Don’t Make Your Title Too Long, and Other Common Mistakes (1997)
*Can’t Beat the Real Thing (1997)
*Baseball Fans of the 80s (1997)
*My High School Graduation Speech (1997)
*Sarah Lawrence College Essay - Accepted (1996)
*Aoo (1996)
*Haze (1996)
*The Cave-in (1996)
*The Lost Epsisode of Seinfeld (1996)
*Seinfeld: The Poison Pickle (1996)
*My House is a Very Very Very Fine House (1995)
*1973 (1995)
*Humor Runs in the Family (1995)
*Don't Quit (1995)
*Be Careful What You Wish For, It May Never Happen (1995)
*Ode to Seinfeld (1995)
*Memoir (1994)
*Jefferies at the Bat (1994)
*Ode to a Void (1994)
*Balls (1994)
*Balls II (1994)