Less than two years ago, this trip was nothing more than a dream.
Fall semester 2012, I walked into “Journalistic Storytelling: Introduction” with little—actually no—experience in journalism.
I hadn’t written in high school, and I started my sophomore year at Ball State as a transfer student. This course was my first taste of real, not-quite-real-life journalism.
Lede writing, a handful of AP-style lessons and the keys to a successful interview were all on the table. For me, though—a young, curious journalist—one topic was significantly more interesting than the rest.
The professor had just returned from the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
She led a group of students working for BSU at the Games, a student media group formed to cover the Games. I knew then just how big an opportunity that must have been for those students.
The dreaming really started when I found out BSU at the Games would return to cover the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. More importantly, it’d return with a brand new group of students.
So there I was, sitting in that introduction-to-journalism class dreaming a strangely achievable dream. I wanted to cover the Olympic Games in 2014.
But I had never written an article.
I didn’t waste any time in getting my feet wet. That day I made my way to the Ball State Daily News, met with the sports editor and started covering men’s tennis. No Olympic venue, but it was a start.
Some three semesters later, it really hit me that this trip—once just a dream – is two weeks away. I’m scared, excited and sleeping less because of it.
This journey way around the world should be expected to provide a certain adrenaline rush, the same one that comes during a post-game interview, the same one you get covering a breaking news story.
It’s what makes this field special.
The Olympic Games generates that excitement on a global scale. They provide a stage for more than just athletes and student journalists hoping to make a name for themselves, though.
In a 49-minute YouTube video posted on Jan. 20, members of Vilayat Dagestan claimed responsibility for terror attacks in Volgograd, Russia last month.
The pair promised Russian President Vladimir Putin more terrorism if the Sochi games continue as planned.
And an added promise for fans, visitors and dreamers like myself who attend the Games: “For the tourists who come, there will be a present, too.”
I guess it all became real for me during a family dinner conversation. My father, for the first time in the months building up to this trip, voiced his concern for my safety.
He reminded me that, apart from attending the Games, there are a lot of “firsts” coming up in my young life. It’s hard to ignore the man I go to for advice in every aspect of my life.
It’s hard to ignore his reminder that I’ve yet to hold my first child. There’s nothing like it, or so he tells me.
To be honest, I’ve put virtually no thought into the birth of a child of my own. But knowing my father has contemplated the death of his—that’s got to be just as powerful.
Despite the threat of a nightmare, I can’t give up on this dream.
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.