It’s been almost six months since I decided to join the ranks of BSU at the Games. Six months ago I was excited. Ryan Sparrow pitched the trip so well that first day that I called my mom immediately after and told her, “We have to find a way to get me on that plane in February.” Without hesitation she said, “You have to go. We can figure this out.”
My mom knows everything. She might not be able to tell me the capital of Russia or locate the Black Sea on a map, but she has lived through so many struggles and triumphs that she is my Almighty. So I trusted her. I signed up for the class after we hung up.
That second day of class, I realized what I had gotten myself into. Not only would I be going on a trip of a lifetime, but I also would be working on stories that would challenge me. I mean really challenge me. I didn’t know one thing about any sports, let alone Olympic sports.
Sure, I played little-league baseball for half a season, and played defense on an elementary school soccer team, but most of my adolescence was spent watching “Digimon: Digital Monsters” and pretending I was roaming the halls of Hogwarts in my mom’s bathrobe. How could I write a good sports story and keep up with the professionals? I was in over my head.
Then I got a text message from my mom: “I am so proud of you and everything you are doing dont forget the fam reunion on sat.”
Despite the terrible text-message grammar, I was once again inspired. I had to make my mom proud. I had to write these stories about athletes. I had to quit doubting myself. I had to teach my mom how to use her smart phone.
On “sat” my mom interjected the fact that her baby boy would be going to the Olympics into every conversation with a smile stretched across her face. Her excitement and pride filled me more than the overcooked baked macaroni and cheese ever would.
When we went to Utah for the media summit, my parents drove me to the airport. I slept on their couch the night before and, as if I was still in high school, my mom woke me up by flipping on the lights, ripping away the blankets and calmly saying, “Get up, we have to get going, I think 70 is closed and we have to take I-465.” She rushed me into the car and the entire way sat through my terrible rendition of Gavin Degraw’s Stripped album.
She walked me into the airport, kissed me goodbye and told me to kick some ass. And after days of press conferences and meeting Olympic athletes, she was right there waiting when I got back to Indianapolis. Two overzealous, proud parents, my mom and dad hugged me, and my smiling mom eagerly introduced herself to my instructor.
That handshake was an unspoken contract—at least to her it was. With two seconds of eye contact, she telepathically told him, “If my baby gets hurt in any way, it is you that I will track down.”
Now it’s crunch time. As my scattered brain tries to prepare to get me aboard that plane, I have called my mom everyday. She’s still there to comfort me. For 22 years she has been there.
I don’t mean to brag, but I have the best mom in the world.
BSU at the Games is a freelance news agency operated by 22 student journalists reporting from the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games through an immersive-learning program at Ball State University.