Indypendence Day

This post is going to be a marathon. (But hopefully not as terrible as running a marathon would be. Maybe more like a two and a half hour Harry Potter movie that you never want to end.)

This week I’ve been so busy. I’ve been running around like a cat that just had a particularly large dose of catnip. It’s the week before the USA Gymnastics Championships in Louisville, and everyone in the office has been going nonstop trying to get everything squared away so we’re prepared. But before I get into all of that I want to talk about my mini-vacation.

I went home two nights before the Fourth of July. It was my first time flying by myself, Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 9.03.30 PMbut everything went off without a hitch although the security lady did want to inspect my bun. We boarded the plane just as the sun was setting, so the majority of the hour-long flight was during dusk/nighttime. Let me say, I’m only flying at night from now on. It was exhilarating. The clouds, which had a dingy orange tint to them from the sunset, looked like the fluff you pick out of the bottom of the vacuum cleaner when it gets too full and stops working. Once it was dark, the cities glowed orange like a bad spray tan on a college co-ed gearing up for spring break. Houses and towers twinkled like stars. I’m a sucker for a starry night. It was mesmerizing, and I couldn’t look away. I need to get out more…

Anyway, once I got home, I visited with my parents some even though it was late. I also got to see my cat for the first time in four weeks! He bit me affectionately for a while. Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 9.03.19 PMTotally normal. On the Fourth of July, I woke up to my blaring alarm at 6 a.m. and got ready for the Peachtree Road Race. Now let me take a step back for a second. I am not a runner. Every year, for about 10 years now, I subject myself to this torture on July 4 just so I can get a T-shirt and lie around for the rest of the day. Every year I train some and then whip out a 6.2 mile run. Every year I’m sore afterwards — like so sore I can’t move. Every year I say never again. Don’t ask me why I do it. I must be crazy.

My time home, as it always seems, was too short. But that’s how it always is, isn’t it? I flew back to Indianapolis Sunday night and the next day started the busiest week of my life. This week I worked on a little bit of everything to get ready for Louisville next week. A lot of the things I did were to make life easier next week — my kind of work. I did everything from writing a field of competitors release for the championships (more than 1,600 competitors), which took about three days to get finalized and ready to send out to the media, reformatted a spreadsheet for ease when it comes to posting results, writing a Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 8.00.06 PMmedia opportunities release for the local media to let them know what each session contained and when it was and writing media advisories for the media day and kick-off celebration. I got to use my fancy Excel formula, which was exciting. Call me a nerd. Go on. The formula turns all that jumble in the picture into something like this when you plug it in: Elizabeth Grimsley, Decatur, Ga., and Caitlyn Stroh of Thomasville, Ga. both of University of Georgia.

I also worked on a lot of releases not having anything to do with the following week’s championships. Eddie Penev was awarded the USOC June Athlete of the Month, which I filled out the application for. Kerri Strug had her second child. The field of competitors was released for next week’s men’s national qualifier. The USOC announced the official delegation for the Youth Olympic Games, which includes four gymnasts. I also proofed releases coming in from France where Scott is covering the 2014 World Acrobatic Gymnastics Championships.

I sat in on a call with a local Louisville newspaper editor as he and Leslie discussed feature story ideas and media day for next week. I also had what felt like 50 meetings and cleaned out the stuff Scott no longer wanted from his old office so the new person moving into it would have a fresh start. I was even so busy Thursday, I almost forgot to eat. I definitely know what Nick means when he says sometimes it’s just so inconvenient.

Although this week was non-stop work, it should make next week a lot easier and a pretty fun event. I even get to take pictures of the gymnastics going on when I’m not doing anything else. I also made sure to plant the seed that if there was a feature story idea a reporter didn’t want to write about, I would be MORE than happy to write it up for the website. I’m hoping next week I’ll not only get to take some pictures of stunning gymnastics but write about those stunning gymnasts as well. Besides that, I’ll be coordinating media at the convention center during the day and helping Leslie with the task at the Yum! Center at night. I might also get to finally meet some of the trampolinists (trampoliners?) in real life that I interviewed for stories over the phone a while back.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with trampoline and tumbling, rhythmic or acrobatic gymnastics, here’s the brief lowdown. Trampoline and tumbling has three and a half disciplines basically. There’s individual trampoline, synchronized trampoline, power tumbling and double-mini. This is not your ordinary backyard trampoline. Rhythmic gymnastics is all about flexibility, dance, balances and dynamic movements. With rhythmic there’s individual and group routines. Its events for this quad are rope, hoop, ribbon and clubs. Then there’s acrobatic gymnastics. It’s similar to the stunt work done in cheerleading or the balancing acts you see in Cirque du Soleil shows. In acro there’s mixed pairs, women’s pairs, men’s pairs, women’s group and men’s group. While watching acro worlds live today, I was already envisioning pictures I could take next week.

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 9.11.32 PMThat’s pretty much it for now. Next week is going to be crazy, but I’m sure with it will come some great stuff to write about and even greater pictures to help tell the story. Until then, go watch some Potterhead Weekend on ABC Family.

Oh, and I forgot to mention the 20,000 Jahovah’s Witnesses at the convention at Lucas Oil Stadium across the street from my hotel this weekend. I’d say at least 100 of the foreign delegation is staying at my hotel. It’s lovely. I’ll leave you with that.

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Indygo

“You’re tougher than you think you are, and you can do more than you think you can.” – Christopher McDougall

The last time I wrote a post, it was the day before my internship began. Now, I’ve got a whole week under my belt and a hectic one at that. So bare with me if this post turns out to be like a novel in length. A week ago I was in crappy Park Place. Now I’m in the awesome Staybridge Suites that comes with complementary breakfast seven days a week, complementary dinner three nights a week, complementary laundry, all the bathroom and kitchen supplies I need and a much better weight room. Not to mention the elevator isn’t from a horror movie and actually has the nice voice of an English lady to tell you what floor you’re on. it’s about 1000 percent better to say the least. Oh, and the elevator is so smooth, if you close your eyes, you can’t even feel it start to move or even when it comes to a stop. IMG_3588Did I mention my new room’s view looks directly at Lucas Oil stadium where the Colt’s play? It’s literally across the street and looks super cool at night when the stadium name is lit up. This place also has way more people my age and one of the managers said that some of the Indian’s (minor league baseball team in Indy) players and their families stay here when they have home games. It’s like someone stayed at a lot of different hotels, decided what they loved about each and put it all into one perfect place.

Monday started my first day on the job. Besides being a lot of boring paperwork and other getting started activities, I actually got to write some stuff. You know how you hear about those journalists just starting out having to write tons and tons of obituaries? That’s basically me. Except I write stuff other than that. However, my first press release was an obituary about some former Olympic medalist who died (no disrespect intended). I also wrote another release on a high school team form new Jersey that won the senior invitational or something like that. I also began the daunting task of scanning in old film slides to put in the archives. I think it took me three-ish days to do all of Bela Karolyi? My favorite from the bunch was definitely him riding on horse back and the animal galloped through a grassy field. Once Bela was done, I got to start on Kim Zmeskal who has at LEAST three times more slides butIMG_3576 probably more. I’ve also been proofing a lot of stuff, which I actually don’t mind since I enjoy good grammar and whatnot. Side note: I’m, like, legit now because I have my own work computer, work phone and work email address.

That first day, Leslie, Scott and I went out to eat lunch for my first day at this place not far from the office. It mainly served quesadillas and pizza-dillas and wasn’t half bad. I’ll definitely go back there some time if the opportunity comes up. The next day was more releases, scanning slides and proofing. Gabrielle Douglas recently had a wax figure made of her, so I wrote up a release about that. I also did my first media outreach to a J.O. kid who made the P&G national championships. it’s weird getting requests from journalists asking to set up interviews for possible stories and being on that side of things rather than being the journalist requesting the interview. Not sure how I feel about it quite yet. Side note: met Steve Penny, President of USA Gymnastics yesterday. He’s a character, that’s for sure.

On day three I started researching older hall of famers that are getting up there in age  — just in case — as well as more proofing and scanning. I also go tot attend my first meeting. I, of course, had no input because I had no idea what was really going on, but it seemed interesting. Planning for the P&G Championships in mid-August have already started!  I also met a girl who works in Steve Penny’s office (talk about intimidating) and the marketing intern who is only a year younger than me and goes to Butler. Thank God for another person my age around the office that’s somewhat going through what I am! Although she started back in March, she can give me the juicy secrets, so I don’t have to figure these things out on my own and inevitable embarrass my way through the days.

IMG_3603Later that night, I also got my first “Go Dawgs!” of the north, which actually made me miss the south — something I’ve never experienced before. These people are missing out without sweet tea everywhere and no Chick-fil-a on every corner. I did locate a Chick-fil-a, so we’re all good. It should tide me over until I fly home for Fourth of July. Moving into Thursday, Leslie started giving me more duties to handle. I drafted skeleton releases for the NFHS state championships that will be starting next year for boys high school gymnasts that don’t have a program in their state. It’s actually a pretty cool concept, and if the media outlets chose to do so, they’ll be using my releases when these high school athletes compete at state. I was also put in charge of the releases for the 2014 Elite Challenge in Spokane, Wash., an even we’re covering remotely. Since the results don’t come in until very late at night, I write up the release in the morning the next day — or rather I fill in the blanks of the pre-written skeleton in the morning the next day. You can find the men’s and women’s synchro release here! I’ll be writing a media advisory for an athlete visit to Louisville as well as writing and remotely covering the rhythmic national qualifier in Lake Placid, N.Y., next weekend.

I also found out I get to go to Louisville a week-ish after the Fourth of July for the USA Gymnastics Championships which is the national championship for trampoline and tumbling, rhythmic and acro, so that should be fun! The other intern there said she got some apparel and stuff when she covered an event, so that’s actually super exciting too… I love clothes — especially athletic clothes. Speaking of athletic clothes, I met some of the USA Track & Field interns today when we visited the Indy Eleven office (Indy’s NorthIMG_3614 American Soccer League team). let me tell you that those interns are allowed to wear tennis shoes and USATF T-shirts and other athletic-y stuff! Not to complain, but unfair, haha. USATF is sponsored by Nike, so it makes sense. That would be cool if we could do that too… I’m sure if I owned Under Armor stuff, I would be able to wear it to work as well, but alas. Indy Eleven was cool. The team is in its first year and we got to hear from the people that worked there all about creating the team and everything that goes into that as well as starting the team up and promoting it once it’s begun. USATF’s offices also look super nice and sleek. USA Gym is painting and redoing most of its office space now, so hopefully I’ll get to see the final product before my internship ends.

It’s only been five days in, but it feels like so much longer already. I’m guessing as I get busier (can I get any busier?), the time will fly by. After five days I’ve also realized I really miss true journalism. Sure, I’ll be writing some features and whatnot, but this job is more about media relations than anything else. At least, if I get to the end of the summer and decide this is not something I want to do with my life, I will have the experience and will know rather than getting into a job and realizing it. I’d say that’s plenty for this go round. I didn’t envision being this busy or realize I wouldn’t feel like doing anything but workout and watch TV/eat food after getting home, but I’ll try to write more than once a week. Maybe getting into a schedule will help. I’m all about routine. I will be going to the Indian’s game Sunday against the Gwinnett Braves. It just so happens former Georgia pitcher Alex Wood was demoted just in time to come to Indy with the team, so I’m looking forward to it. And hopefully lots of pictures are to come!

Until next time.