...And I'm Back!

This is my third blog in four days. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. :P

Yesterday, I spent most of the day volunteering at the track meet. It’s probably a good thing that I was out and doing things – I was distracted and didn’t have the time (or the privacy) to be sulky.

I got to the Hecht Athletic Center at 10 am, where I met Dani, the athletic department intern that’s in charge of volunteers. She took me and the other girl that was there, Kadisha (not sure of the spelling), back into the gym to get our t-shirts and assignments.

I think I know what I’m wearing when I go to a day of track in London next summer! ;)

There were three other guys that were volunteering in the gym when we got there. They ended up getting assigned to the hammer throw, and Kadisha and I were sent to javelin. There are a couple of high schools that send the kids on their track teams to volunteer at our meets, so most volunteers were high school kids. Our assignment was to retrieve the javelins after they were thrown, and then run them back to the athletes. There were a ton of high schoolers assigned with us, so I wasn’t really doing as much as I would’ve liked.

These kids were a trip, though! It was really just one girl in particular. Let me give you a taste.

Her: What’s your culture?
Me: …What?
Her: Your culture.
Me: …I’m not really sure what you’re asking.
Her: Okay, see. I’m African-American. [Turns to another girl] You are…
Other girl: Hispanic.
Her: And YOU are…
Me: …White?
Her: [bursts out laughing]
Me: Um, I’m sorry, I don’t know what you want me to say. I’m white.
Other girl: Do you want another name for it? Ummm… European? Caucasian?
Her: SEE! Okay, there you go!
Other girl: [whispers to me] Don’t worry about her. She’s crazy.

I was honestly a little bit afraid of her. Not in the I’m-going-to-do-everything-you-tell-me-to-do-ma’am kind of way, but in the oh-god-everybody-does-everything-she-tells-them-to-do kind of way. She’s the bossiest girl I’ve ever encountered, and the other five girls that had the same assignment were like dogs on a leash. “Tink, it’s your turn!” “Emily, you want to go up further than that.” – I swear, she was the ultimate queen bee. But the best was when she grabbed my arm and tried to shove me into the throwing area to pick up a javelin.

No, she wasn’t trying to kill me. She just thought it was my turn to go and apparently really wanted me to get there super fast. So she took my elbow, yelled “IT’S YOU!” and shoved me in the right direction.

It WASN’T my turn, though, so Kadisha was already running to get it. So I turned to this 15-year-old girl who thought she could boss me around and said, “Please don’t touch me. Just tell me next time. But seriously, don’t touch me.”

I think I handled myself rather well, considering I kind of wanted to hit her all day.

The women’s event was first. We got a break in between, when Kadisha and I helped Dani put ice into some coolers, and then had lunch before the men’s event. The girls were in awe of one thrower from UConn. It was adorable, they were like his groupies! After the men were done, we got another break. Kadisha and I watched some high jumping. Miami has no javelin throwers, so it was nice to see an event with some orange and green!

Then it started raining (read: making you wonder where Noah and his ark were), and the day kind of went downhill from there. Kadisha left at 3:30 to go to work, and I was stuck in the gym until the rain let up and I could leave. Dinner got there at 4:15, though, so I got more free food! And I talked with Dani a little bit about her internship. She says they like hiring people that are genuinely interested in getting involved (i.e. volunteer), and she said she’d put me in touch with her boss about doing more volunteer work in the future.

In typical south Florida fashion, the rain stopped, and it was sunny again when I was walking back to Pearson. The puddles on US 1 were almost as high as the curb in some places, and I was thinking about how funny it would be if a car drove by and soaked me. Andddd then it almost happened! It was a pleasant fellow in a large truck speeding down the road and not caring that he was potentially drenching a pedestrian. Luckily I was able to dodge out of the way, and he only soaked my calves. Miami drivers – gotta love ‘em! (Not.)

I got back to my room at 5:30, and I was DISGUSTING. I don’t know how people live in Miami during the summer! I had to get dinner before work at 7, but I showered anyway. I really have to start remembering that volunteering isn’t the most glamorous of jobs. I’ve now officially frozen my butt off and lost my weight in sweat all in the name of experience. The all-access privileges are rather fun, though!

But it was really exciting being in the presence of Coach Deem! I saw her a bunch of times throughout the day, but I didn’t talk to her. I kinda figured she’d be a little bit busy, ya know, coaching track and field and all. Kadisha said she has friends on the track team who say Coach Deem is “ruthless.” Really? The nice lady that talked on the phone with me when she was walking her dog is ruthless?

If you say so!

All in all, I was feeling pretty okay… until I went to work. Hearing about other people that’ve worked at the wellness center for half as long as me getting promoted was NOT fun. For the first time in my life, I had to take a walk so I wouldn’t do or say something I’d regret. Luckily, roaming the gym is a part of the job, and after a few laps, I’d calmed down and decided to just ask my boss what’s up.

Susanna, the leader on my shift, actually calmed me down pretty well. It was good hearing “it’s just the gym” from someone. I knew that it’s just the gym, but actually hearing it kind of made it make more sense. It’s more of a pride issue, I guess.

But it’s okay! I have the newspaper going for me! I’m the opinion editor next semester, and I’m super excited about it! :) I’d take that over being fitness leader any day. So, wellness center? I’ve got two words for ya!

Something finally clicked as I was walking back from work. I’d decided to do all sorts of happy things for myself – namely, eat chocolate, watch Castle, and sleep a lot. So I stopped and got a brownie at the C-store, and as I was walking down Stanford Drive and looking up at the moon, I felt this really random flicker of optimism. Out of nowhere, I decided that I’m okay. Everything’s going to be fine. I just needed my 24-ish hours to be sad, get mad, and gear up for round two.

What does round two entail, you ask? I emailed SNY about helping with Mets games against the Marlins at Sun Life Stadium towards the end of the season, when I’m back in Miami. I emailed USA Swimming to thank them for the opportunity, tell them I’m still very interested in the position, and ask what I could’ve done that would’ve made me a better candidate. I’m going to email Dani about speaking to her boss. I’m going to email the executive director of the Miami-Dade County Special Olympics about volunteering in the fall. My mom sent me info about other internships that I’m going to look into ASAP.

And then there’s Svein. There’s a communications internship with USA Figure Skating that he told me about. Unfortunately, it’s for an academic year, which I wouldn’t be able to do if I want to graduate on time, which I told him. But then he said he’s close friends with the head honcho over there, and he’ll ask him if I can intern for a shorter amount of time.

I’m not sure what I did to deserve all these favors he’s doing for me. I thank him in every single email I send to him, and I feel like a broken record, but what do I even say to things like this?! The thank you card I’m going to send to him when this is all resolved won’t even scratch the surface of my gratitude. So Svein, if there’s even the slightest chance that you’re reading this, thank you from the bottom of my heart!

And thank you to everyone that’s been so supportive these last few days. I truly appreciate every call, text, email, comment, wall post, and tweet. I’m so lucky to have you all in my corner!

I think the biggest sign of my improvement happened today, when I successfully listened to Good Life without wanting to do harm to my iPod, and was able to look at my Olympics calendar (April, of course, features swimmers) without giving it the death glare. Success!

And so concludes the most bipolar three days of my life. Bring on the monotony of classes!

Darci and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Today was definitely one of the worst days I’ve ever had.

First, I found out that I wasn’t promoted at the wellness center, even though I’ve worked there for two years, which is longer than anyone else that’s been promoted.

And, as if that wasn’t awesome enough news, mere hours later, I found out that I didn’t get the internship with USA Swimming.

Actually, I got that phone call before I got to work, but missed it and didn’t listen to the voicemail until after work. And let me tell you, THANK GOD I waited to listen to it. I saw that I’d missed a call from an unknown number, and figured it was either really awesome news or really craptastic news. Either way, I thought it would make me really desperate to not be at work anymore.

It’s like my subconscious knew something I didn’t.

I handled it pretty well at first. I listened to it in the atrium of the wellness center, where Ernesto happened to find me literally as I was putting my phone to my ear. I cursed a few times, and was understandably mad – I decided not to stay and work out, and left to go back to my room and call my mom instead.

That’s when I got really upset. I think talking about it and realizing “oh, so now I’m back to wasting my life for three months this summer” did it, but it finally hit me. I kept it together until I got to my room, thankfully. As much as I just wanted to lie in bed and be miserable, I tried to distract myself.

But then my dad called, and that plan was ruined. He was really supportive and giving me advice, and said that now I have to go into attack mode and not abandon ship. The whole time, I was thinking "but I don’t want to go into attack mode. I just want to curl up in bed and cry."

So I did.

Yeah, I cried. I’m a big girl, I can admit it. I climbed into bed and cried. Funny, two days ago I was wondering when the last time I cried was.

I actually think I might’ve fallen asleep for a little bit. Great, I cried myself to sleep. I feel kind of pathetic.

And now I’m tearing up just thinking about it! Geez, STOP IT!

*Deep breaths*

I’m just so damn sick of feeling like I’m not good enough for anything. I know I’m talented, I know I work really hard, and I know I’d be a good employee. So why did I apply for over 15 internships and get zero offers? Why do I keep putting in SO MUCH work and getting nothing out of it?

Everyone keeps telling me to keep hoping, keep trying, that something will turn up. Yeah? Hear those crickets chirping? Those are all the internship offers that I’m NOT getting. I know people interning for AEG Live, Nike, and the Cannes Film Festival, but I can’t even get a “no thanks” email from a local newspaper and might have to spend my summer working some lame minimum-wage job.


Sorry, I’m bitter. I was in a much better place ten minutes ago, but writing about it kind of brought me back to my dark place.

I’ll figure something out. I’ll probably end up monetizing my blog. Maybe I’ll do some freelance writing for a blogging website too. Maybe I’ll find some good books to read. Maybe I’ll go for walks and take nice pictures like I did a few summers ago.

Too bad the thought of all that nice stuff makes me miserable. I need experience in the field if I ever want to get a job, but I need a job to get that experience before I can get a job. How do I win in that cycle?

My parents told me to go to Toppel and ask them what I should do – “Hi, I suck and got rejected from every internship I applied for. What does a failure like me do now?”

Reeeeeeeally looking forward to THAT conversation.

…Okay, maybe I’m not a failure. But it’d be nice if someone I send my resume to would tell me that. Hearing it from family and friends is great, but I’d like to hear it from someone who’s not obligated to say it, ya know?

I just have to keep telling myself that there’s a reason this is happening. Maybe I’ll get my dream internship next summer, or I’ll have the best summer of my life and I’ll be thanking my lucky stars I wasn’t in Colorado.

Speaking of which, I was listening to Good Life by OneRepublic earlier today. It’s one of my favorite songs, but all I could pay attention to was the line “To my friends in New York I say hello/My friends in LA, they don’t know/Where I’ve been for the last few years or so/Paris to China to Colorado” – and I wanted to chuck my iPod through the window.

Right now, I think I’ll watch some Castle highlights. I can’t even watch the last episode to make myself feel better, because it was all about an Olympic hopeful swimmer. I’ll have to harken back to the days when Josh was in Africa, and Castle and Beckett were making out, saying things like “always,” and calling each other by their first names.

Tomorrow I’m volunteering at the track meet. Hopefully I’ll meet Coach Deem and have something at least mildly positive and/or exciting to write about.

But until then, some positive words and thoughts would be really appreciated. (And thanks for those I’ve already gotten. I’m really lucky to have some amazing people in my life.)

It's DEFINITELY Who You Know!

Hmm. I’m not really sure if what just happened to me actually happened. But now I think I can finally write about what I’ve been not wanting to jinx for a month!

A day or so before spring break, I got a call from my mom’s best friend/college roommate, Caron (and she told me she reads this, so hi Caron!). She knows that I’m trying to get to the USOC, and realized that she (sort of) knows somebody who she thought might be able to help. I don’t really remember the specifics of all of this, but she used to live in Atlanta, and still goes down there every year to do a run. I think it was last year that a friend of hers took her to another friend’s house (maybe? I could be totally making this up).

But ANYWAY, the guy’s house she was at is named Svein Romstad. He’s the Secretary General of the International Luge Federation (FIL). Hearing that title might not mean much to most people, but remember the Georgian luger that died on the first day of the Vancouver Olympics? Svein’s the guy that was doing all the press conferences on TV about it!

Under the circumstances, it’s kind of unfortunate that I recognize him. And even more unfortunate that it’s exciting and cause for me to be happy. But it really is, I promise!

Caron got in touch with him, and he said he’d be willing to talk to me and help me out (awesome point #1). So I emailed him, and he said if I had a name of whoever was in charge of the internships I applied for, he could try to talk to them. Or if not, he said he’d write me a recommendation letter (awesome points #2 & 3).

After returning to consciousness, I told him that I couldn’t find any names so, oh darn, I’d have to settle for a letter of recommendation.

BUMMER. (/sarcasm.)

Some time went by after that – I think there was a meeting coming up, or something like that, and he’d talk to someone for me there. A week or two ago, he emailed me that that was cancelled, but he’d be going out of town soon for an IOC meeting. And he said he’d try to talk to the director of communications for the USOC, if he was there (awesome points #4-11).

The other day, I get another email from him. He said he’d spoken to the CEO of the USOC, Scott Blackmun, about me (awesome points #12-87). Svein said he wanted a letter of recommendation sent to him, so were there any points in particular I wanted him to mention (awesome points #88-103).

After returning to consciousness, I emailed him back, saying that I WANT THIS SO BADLY (though maybe a smidgen more eloquently), and attached my resume.

This morning, I got another email from him, saying he forwarded Scott Blackmun my resume and the recommendation he wrote for me (awesome points #104-237). The letter is on the official FIL template and everything!

This afternoon, I get a call from a number that came up as “unknown” – when I had my interview with USA Swimming (which I don’t want to talk about and jinx, but I do think it was a plus that I knew the names of swimmers other than Michael Phelps), that number was “unknown” as well, so I answered.

And it was the USOC.

(Awesome points calculator explodes.)

I don’t even remember the name of the guy who was on the other end of the phone. I was just so floored by the words “United States Olympic Committee” that I might’ve blacked out for a second. But HOLY HELL, CAN YOU BLAME ME?!?!?

He said he wanted to follow up on the “correspondence,” and asked during which semester I was interested in interning. I said the summer, and he told me they’re already closed (damn). But I told him I had an interview with USA Swimming, and he sounded impressed – he looked through the database of interns that were already in the system, and nothing’s been put in for Swimming yet, so he said it still may be me!

He told me I’d get an email either way, and then… that was kind of it. The call was less than three minutes long, and after I hung up I just sat there for a second, rather dazed.

Did it really happen? This whole saga doesn’t sound like something that would happen to me! I feel so regular, and this is… not. So, so, SO NOT.

I hope the mystery man on the other end of the phone talks to the good folks over at USA Swimming and puts in a good word for me! :D

At this point, though… I’m scared to even say it. I think this really improves my chances for the future, even if I don’t get anything this summer. I have another letter of recommendation under my belt – from somebody AWESOME, again! – and can name drop! Oh, this went straight to the CEO of the USOC, no big deal.

…Really? Is this my life? Might I actually be doing things RIGHT?!


So, up until now, I’ve been operating with the theory of “let’s not post about awesome things that are potentially happening so I don’t jinx them.”

But dude? Let’s knock on wood and throw that out the window, because OH MY GOD THE MOST AWESOME THING JUST HAPPENED AND THERE’S NO WAY I’M NOT GOING TO TALK ABOUT IT!


On the USOC website, it says that internship decisions are made no later than April 4th. Well, April 4th came and went, and I heard nothing. I pouted a little bit, but moved on. I mean, I’d been hopeful, but not holding my breath. I resigned myself to the fact that I might have to apply during the fall, when I wouldn’t have to pay extra to get school credits for it, and when there’s probably less competition.

Fast forward to Friday. I was getting ready to go to the baseball game with Brittany, and had to print my resume for yesterday (I was meeting with the director of the Special Olympics in Miami-Dade). Our printer doesn’t have ink, so I opened my UMail account so I could email it to myself to open in the computer lab.

Staring at me from the top line of my inbox was an email with the subject line “USA Swimming Internship Interview.”

My reaction:

Except in my case, there was some clapping my hands over my mouth and looking wild-eyed over at my lovely roommate, who chose this weekend to visit and is always lucky enough to be here to see me react to something in this fashion. I swear, if she didn’t know me so well, she’d think I was absolutely insane. And, let's be real, she still might. :P

The email was from the media relations manager, wanting to schedule an interview with me. I was literally shaking. Okay, so it’s not TECHNICALLY the USOC. But the headquarters of USA Swimming are at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado, so their interns live there! I’m still having trouble wrapping my mind around this. I gave my mom a mini heart attack when I texted her “OMG I NEED TO CALL YOU RIGHT NOW!” and I skipped several times on the walk to the baseball stadium. It’s a really good thing I got this email on a Friday as opposed to during the week – I would NOT be able to focus in class.

But anyway, AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH! I HAVE AN INTERVIEW!!!! :D I mean, I had an interview with SNY last week, but I had help getting that one (and I haven’t even heard back from them yet). This one was all me! Me and my recommendation letter from a former swimmer and current Vice President of the US Olympians! I KNEW that would help me! Out of all the USOC internships I applied to, I held out the most hope for this one, because the name Gary Hall, Sr. is really significant in the swimming world. I already sent him an email saying OH MY GOD I LOVE YOU! (In not so many words, of course.)

My interview is officially scheduled for Tuesday at 4! Eek! I’m so excited! My nerves should start setting in any day now, but I’m on cloud 9 at the moment! This whole time, I’ve been saying that all I need is an interview. If they’d give me a shot after looking at my resume, I think my chances are really good. I can talk about why I want this job for days on end, so (dare I say it) I’m feeling kind of confident! Talk to me on Tuesday at 3:30 and I’ll be singing a different tune, but I can do this. I KNOW I can do this!

Oh, my life. :)

New Events for 2014: My Two Cents

Breaking news!

Today, the IOC confirmed the inclusion of six new events on the program of Sochi 2014; ski half-pipe (men and women), women’s ski jumping, biathlon mixed relay, figure skating team event and luge team relay.

According to the IOC newsletter, the key factors considered in making this decision included “whether the changes would increase universality, gender equity and youth appeal, and, in general, add value to the Games. Other considerations included the cost of infrastructure, and the impact on the overall quota and the number of events.”

Also in the newsletter was the following:
“The inclusion of these events on the Olympic Winter Games programme is sure to be appreciated by athletes and sports fans alike,” said IOC President Jacques Rogge. “These are exciting, entertaining events that perfectly complement the existing events on the sports programme, bring added appeal and increase the number of women participating at the Games. I look forward to watching the athletes compete in these events in Sochi 2014.”

Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about this.

Rogge is right on just about all counts; none of these events require new courses or venues or anything, and should garner the interest of extreme sports fans (in the case of ski half-pipe, at least). I don’t think I even realized there hadn’t been women’s ski jumping in the past, so hooray for gender equity. And I am definitely interested in watching how some of these pan out – team figure skating? Ski half-pipe? Luge team relay? My interest is definitely piqued.

But something is still sitting a little weirdly with me. Baseball and softball are nixed from the summer program, but these slightly off-the-wall sports are added to winter? Can they honestly say that there are more team figure skaters around the world than there are baseball players? Really?

I’m not just saying this because I’m a baseball fan, I promise. I’m just feeling oddly nostalgic. Gone are the days of the more traditional sports and amateurism requirement. I understand that everything is money-driven nowadays – of course there’ll be better competition and, hence, more viewers if pros get to compete and the sports are more extreme. But on the same token, gone are the days of, say, the 1980 men’s hockey team. Now we have “Dream Teams” in every sport, where every player is a star in their own right. That’s great and all, but the writer in me is making sad faces at the lack of an exciting story. Okay, LeBron James won the gold medal in basketball. And? But that group of no-name college hockey players beat the Soviet Union! I get more excited about that, and it happened 11 years before I was even born!

Maybe there's a reason we've never had a moment like this since then.

I just feel like with all these new “extreme” sports, it seems like the Olympics are trying to almost emulate the X-Games. How many half-pipe sports do we really need? And ski- and snowboard-cross? Why does every sport now need to have this element of danger? And adding another luge event – umm, remember the guy that DIED last year? And we’re gonna have MORE of this lethal sport, with MORE people involved at one time?

The IOC is also considering five other events: ski slopestyle (men and women), snowboard slopestyle (men and women), and Alpine team parallel competition. These are subject to a further feasibility study, with a decision coming within the next few weeks.

Can someone tell me what “slopestyle” even means? Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t like having to rely on Wikipedia to tell me what an Olympic sport is. I just looked it up, and apparently it’s “a popular type of competition for most winter extreme sports. There are many sports that are considered to have this style of competition, of which skiing and snowboarding are two of the most common. The goal of snowboarders/skiers participating in a slopestyle event is to perform the most difficult tricks while getting the highest amplitude off the jumps. It is also important to perform different types of tricks instead of doing one great trick repeatedly. This style of competition evolved from traditional downhill skiing and aerial ski jumping. While Slopestyle is one of the most popular events at the Winter X Games, it has never been in the Winter Olympics.”

This begs the question; what’s the point? It sounds just like aerials, or moguls. Do we need another skiing competition that involves crazy jumps? Won’t it get a little repetitive?

In my mind, the Olympics shouldn’t be adopting sports from the X-Games. Unless, of course, these sports are a worldwide phenomenon. And, at this point, are they?

For now, I’ll try to keep an open mind and just see what happens. That is, until that “let’s get pole dancing into the Olympics!” campaign succeeds. THAT is when all bets are off!

Descriptions of the new events: http://www.olympic.org/Documents/Commissions_PDFfiles/Programme_commission/INFO_New_sports_sochi.pdf