I believe we all grow up with something as our sort of “go to.”
Many people have cartoons, some have a hobby or interest they take a liking to. Mines was always sports.
Friends ask me all the time, “you don’t remember (insert tv show) from back then?”
And I have to let them know, all I really watched was sports. ESPN was my safe haven rather than Disney Channel or Nickelodeon.
And so I’m sure you could understand why meeting someone that works on the Worldwide Leader of Sports would be like a dream come true for me.
Just a month and a half ago, that dream actually came to fruition.
I go to school at the University of Toledo.
That sentence was made to sound as bland as it is.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my school and it has provided me some amazing opportunities over the course of the almost three years I’ve been here.
But still; Toledo.
And yet, while I jokingly clown the city, the school and the people who work there were the catalyst for one of my greatest memories.
I remember when I first heard the news a few weeks prior. I figured i had just heard it wrong. No way she’s
I checked the university’s website and there it was: Jemele Hill will be speaking in the auditorium on January 28.
I noticed that the Toledo Excel program was putting the event on and I had a solid connect in that department.
Thinking on my feet, I decided to reach out to my connect, Mr. Young, and used my media credentials as my reasoning for getting in and hopefully getting an interview.
I got a quick response, a yes from Young. I was on my way.
At this point I had to take a step back. Am I really getting the chance to interview Jemele Hill? THE Jemele Hill? The woman who’s about to be hosting ESPN’s flagship program in a couple weeks?
Questions! I need questions!
What do I know about her? What does she like? She’s big on pop culture. She’s from Detroit just like me. Have to make questions interesting but not weird or over the line.
I told myself I needed to get a good night of sleep and be up extra early.
So naturally I would fall asleep at 5 in the morning and get less than two hours of sleep.
But the show would go on.
I got to the auditorium on time and set up my camera.
There was a whole panel lined up with Jemele being the final speaker. I made sure to pay full attention to her words.
Afterwards, I sought out Mr. Young, hoping the interview was still good to go.
He directed me to the room where Jemele would be doing interviews.
I was nervous heading over to the room, but the nervousness soon turned to adrenaline, as she was already there waiting.
At this point I was confident in my abilities, but just wondered what her reception would be.
After introducing myself, I realized how laid back and easygoing she was. I was able to ask all the questions I hopes to get to.
A few things about Jemele:
As aforementioned, she’s from Detroit. She graduated from Michigan State University
She said she never envisioned working for ESPN and just happened to get a job interview that she wasn’t that excited for.
She currently hosts the 6 pm edition of SportsCenter, ESPN’s flagship program.
She likes all Detroit and Michigan State sports teams, but isn’t the biggest fan of Lions. At heart she’s a 49ers fan, which she gets from her moms love of the team.
Hill also retweeted the tweet I made about her and liked my Instagram post.
Not everyone gets to meet their role model and when they do, it isn’t always what they hope.
I was just glad my experience went as well as I could’ve imagined. I was granted a full 15 minutes to introduce myself to, interview and take a picture with someone whose career path I could only dream of imitating.
And it couldn’t have made me any happier.