This was my first opportunity to cover gymnastics and I learned a lot about the sport and met so many great and influential people. I've always loved the Olympic sports and as a student of journalism, it's been a personal goal of mine to provide high-quality coverage of sports that are underappreciated by the media.
My journey to Gymnastike began in Bowling Green, Ohio. As a first-year graduate student at Bowling Green State University studying Sport Administration, I tried to contribute to athletics in any way that I could. I contacted gymnastics coach Kerrie Beach, offering my services to the team and she was very receptive. Kerrie is an amazing coach and an even better person, and she gave me unbelievable access to the team, allowing me to create video features for the team. I loved working with the gymnasts and highlighting their talents and personalities, so when I heard about the opportunity to work for Gymnastike, I went after it. I knew it would be beneficial not only for me and my education, but also for BGSU Gymnastics. When I was accepted, I couldn't wait to get this team out there as much as possible.
I got off to an early start, covering my first meet on January 7th, before classes were even back in session. It was a big challenge, as BGSU was competing in a quad meet with Kentucky, Oklahoma and Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Luckily, I had a little help from a fellow Gymnastike contributor named A.J. who lived in the area. I had a blast covering this meet, and my video of Megan Ferguson's beam routine is still my most-viewed video. Interviewing K.J. Kindler was a highlight for me, as I think she's a brilliant coach.
With the help of Kerrie and the gymnasts, I was able to travel with the team and provide video coverage of all but two meets this season. By far the most rewarding part of the internship was getting positive feedback from BGSU gymnastics fans and parents who appreciated the coverage. I loved working in the Mid-American Conference, and my favorite video that I worked on was definitely my MAC Championship Preview. I had videos of all the MAC teams throughout the season, and I felt it was really important to include all seven teams in the video. I had a lot of fun with that video, and so did my dentist (I think). When I arrived to cover the MAC Championships, I received a lot of nice comments from the gymnasts and coaches about the video, and that really meant a lot to me.
My internship concluded with a trip to cover the NCAA Championships, which was some of the most fun I've ever had. I got to meet Anne and work side by side with her, which was very valuable. That woman is a machine. And she still finds time to be extremely nice and supportive, which I really appreciated throughout the weekend!
The highlight of the trip was covering an absolutely unbelievable Super Six, where Alabama, Florida and UCLA finished within a tenth of each other, blowing my mind in the final rotation. I also really loved the press conferences, where I was able to have a little Q&A with the best of the best, including Val Kondos Field, Sarah Patterson, Kat Ding, Jaime Pisani, Megan Marsden, Rhonda Faehn and Kytra Hunter, just to name a few. I was very enthusiastic, and I earned the nickname "Question Man" from some of the other journalists because I asked so many questions. Heck yeah I did...I'd do it again too.
The semester is over, but I don't feel that I'm anywhere near ready to stop covering this sport. I'm lucky enough to be able to continue working for Gymnastike this summer down in Austin, and next semester I'll be the Sports Information Director for BGSU Gymnastics, which is pretty much a dream come true for me.
I can't believe all that this sport has given me in such a short time. Working for Gymnastike affirmed that covering sports is my passion and where I want to continue working. I have to thank Anne Phillips and Kerrie Beach for giving me the tools to grow my passion, and many others for encouraging me along the way (Chad Wiest, Dave Kuzara...thanks guys!) I can't wait to get down to Austin in a few weeks and continue to give my all for Gymnastike and BGSU Gymnastics. It's been such a privilege.