The following nine “What It Feels Like” stories were written by students in the Basic Reporting Class, instructed by David Roberts, assistant professor of Mass Communication.
WHAT IT FEELS LIKE…
…TO GO TO BAT
Story by Tony Barrow
The mindset begins, while standing in the on-deck circle, waiting to go up to bat.
Everything else becomes irrelevant and I am focused on watching the pitcher, knowing his pitches, and working on last-minute changes to my swing.
The strike-out at bat that happened prior to this has been erased and the tunnel vision mindset is engaged. It’s time to step up to the plate and do the job.
There is not much that should be running through the mind of a batter. What is happening in the stands, dugout, or anywhere off the field vanishes. A feeling of confidence swells from within and hitting the ball has been visualized and has become a certainty.
All eyes are on just the pitcher and the batter as a one-on-one competition takes place and the crowd waits to see who will win the battle. As the pitcher pauses in his wind-up stance, he glares at me, then at the catcher. My eyes are focused on his glove. In his glove, he holds the ball that I know I am going to hit right back at him for a base hit.
Beginning his wind-up movement, he continues his throwing form and his arm is in full motion, whipping the ball toward home plate. My eyes get wide as I focus in on the seams on the ball. The bat feels like a paper weight in my hands as I begin to load my hands back.
The pitcher hurls the ball toward the strike zone. Within seconds, it is my job to know whether it is an off-speed pitch or a fastball, a strike, or a ball, and whether I should swing or not.
I decide to swing, and make solid contact with the ball. I can feel the bat bend in my hand and create a whip sensation as the ball literally jumps off the bat; this is the best feeling in baseball.
As I drive through the ball, my entire body begins to rotate, starting with my feet, working its way up to my shoulders, creating a whip with my body. As the ball travels into the outfield for a base hit, the feeling of relief and happiness overcomes me and I hear the crowd cheering. I begin to round first base.
This is one of the greatest feelings in the world and why I keep playing baseball and love the sport. Just to stand at the plate one more time.
…TO CLIMB ROCKS
Story by Scott Charboneau
Rock-climbing has been something I’ve been doing now for about four years. It takes a lot of physical strength to climb, but also a lot of mental endurance.
The physical aspect can be quite grueling. When I first started climbing, I had blisters on my hands that would bleed as I climbed, making it even harder to climb.
My muscles would hurt from so much exertion and, like all climbers, I can’t stop to rest because I constantly have to maintain my grip. The longer I take to catch my breath and chalk my hands, the more exhausting the climb can be.
The mental aspect can be even tougher to overcome than the physical one. Sometimes I’ll be up 50 feet in the air before I look down and realize how high up I am, and the only piece of equipment that can save me is a little rope that I hope someone is hanging onto at the bottom.
If a climber can manage to overcome the physical and mental demands, then rock-climbing can be one of the most rewarding experiences.
I don’t even find reaching the top to be the best part. The best part for me is when a hold is just out of reach and I have to jump to six feet across to grab it while I’m 30 feet in the air. It certainly takes some will power to even attempt something like that.
…TO RIDE A SKATEBOARD
Story by Jeffrey Alexander
How does it feel to land a trick on your skateboard?
As I ride, I wonder what I can do. I try to impress myself and the people who are watching me. When I pump while I’m riding, I feel the wind, like being in a car with the windows down. This can be a very comfortable and happy zone for many skateboarders.
Most of the time, a trick is in the legs and the feet, working together. What you want is your brain to send a message to your legs and feet that makes you pop the skateboard, sail, and land.
When I land a trick on my skateboard, it makes me feel good, like I figured out something new or maybe just a new move to show my friends who haven’t done it yet.
Also, I try to land the trick as many times as I can in a row, so that I feel like I have mastered it. If I can land the trick multiple times, this is the best feeling because then I can use it and do it any time I want.
…TO PLAY FOOTBALL
Story by Andrew Gregory
To win anything feels great. But to win something that you have worked hard to prepare for is something different.
In football, you spend five days preparing for one 60-minute battle where, in most circumstances, you have one chance to be the victor.
When the game is over and you stand on the field victoriously, you have no worries for that split second. There is just one moment in time when you’re relieved the game is over and you’re on top.
Famous Coach Vince Lombardi said, “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.” I think he’s right. Winning is like a drug. In fact, it’s addicting. Once you get the taste of it, you never want to let it go and you will do anything to get that feeling again.
Winning, to me, feels like no one can touch me. When my teammates and I win on Saturdays and we stand in the middle of the field and sing the fight song, it feels as if we’re invincible and nothing can take that away from us.
…TO OVERCOME AN OBSTACLE
Story by Randy Ritter
When I was born, the doctors didn’t know if I would make it. I was born with inflammation in the membrane lining of mybronchial tubes. I had trouble breathing. I was sick with a fever, to make things worse. I was diagnosed with chronic bronchitis at birth.
Having chronic bronchitis is similar to having asthma. However, the reason it is hard for me to breathe is because there is an infection within my chest. Excessive mucus build-up weighs my chest down. I try to keep away from areas where cigarette smoke is. It is an irritant that triggers a reaction to mucus build-up.
The worst enemy is the cold. Whenever I breathe really cold air in, mucus build-up is at its worst. First, I will catch a sore throat or sinus infection. Then it drains down into my chest and I catch a fever. I will not eat for days and my body gets very weak. My cough is so excessive that the next day feels like I did an ab workout all day.
Having chronic bronchitis was difficult for me when I was younger. In sixth grade, I got sick with pneumonia. I missed two weeks of school and had a hard time even when I got back.
I hope that I can move somewhere hot when I get older. I would love not to ever see snow again. There hasn’t been a winter where I have not missed a week of school because of illness.
Through all of this, I have refused to use an inhaler. I am still very active in sports. I love to work out and also play basketball. I don’t let it keep me down.
I have faith that I can one day not have to experience these types of sicknesses. I am very blessed to be able to play basketball, lift weights, run on a track, and do other physical activities without problems breathing. I give God all the glory.
…TO BE A COACH
Story by Ashley Boyd
I’ve played basketball for as long as I can remember, but, until I became a coach, I had no idea how stressful the position can truly be. I understood this when I took the position as head coach of a competitive girls traveling basketball team.
The nerves and stress arrive about 30 minutes before the game starts. Players have to be accounted for, opponents must be analyzed, line-ups must be traded while the players take the court to warm up, and game strategies must be determined all within the short time period before the game begins.
My mind races before the game ever starts. However, the huddle before tip-off is calming. The players are just as excited as I am but there is calmness to the unity that the huddle brings. Then, game time.
To be a coach, plays run through my head constantly to find the one that will be successful. Different defenses flash through my mind to determine the most effective approach. As a coach, I try to be an extra set of eyes for my players. During the game, I have to be excited and motivate my players to do their best. I also have to be collected and keep emotions in check. I am the person who the players lean on for guidance. I have to show maturity through bad calls, injured players, and when players make mistakes.
Being a coach is like my mind is running a marathon and the finish line is reached when the last buzzer sounds. When I play, the last buzzer means the game is over. For me as a coach, the game is over but I still have responsibilities. I have to cover highlights of the game with my players, I have to reinforce that they played well, but there are still parts of the game to be worked on. I have to prepare my players for their next game and start strategizing for it myself.
As the end of a tournament as a player, I am physically exhausted. At the end of a tournament as a coach, I am both physically and mentally exhausted. Being a coach gives me large responsibilities, but the rewards I get in return are more than worth it.
…TO BE A TWIN
Story by LeKyndra Duncan
Having a twin has its ups and downs.
Let’s start with the downs. Dressing alike every single day until we were in middle school, for one. It was cuter when we were babies. And birthdays—Getting the exact, same gift is cool, but it can lead to confusion and confrontation when she thinks it is hers and it is mine.
Though we are twins and were forced to share a room in growing up, we do not like sharing at all. Period.
There are different types of twins. There are fraternal and identical. I am fraternal, and I am the oldest by 10 minutes. So, it is a major insult to wish my sister a “Happy Birthday” first. Last, but not least, never, ever, ever, compare us to one another. It is not fair to the other and we personally hate it.
Now, let’s work our way to the positives.
One positive is that I have bragging rights to say I have a little sister, 10 minutes younger than me. Other positives of being a twin include always having someone to talk to, to hang out with, and an everlasting connection no matter what the circumstance is.
People tend to think it’s cool to have a twin, so it makes a twin feel like they are one in a million. Your twin will always have your back and never leave your side.
Though being a twin has ups and downs, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
…TO BE PAID TO PARTY
Story by Sasa Devic
A few years ago, I played professional basketball. After my second injury, it was not the same as before and I could not play it as I used to.
InMiami, I met a person who is one of the top people in the entertainment business and he was a great influence.
I founded an event management company and started organizing events around the world. 7D/Seven Dimensions is a unique lifestyle and events management company that prides itself on a level of services, sense of style, and attention to detail that is quite rare.
Our events have been successful all over the world—New York,Miami,London,Cannes,Barcelona,San Francisco,Geneva, and other places.
What does it feel like to be paid to party? Of course, it sounds like a lot of fun.
Actually, it is a totally different story. To be “paid to party,” you have to conduct a most serious and responsible job that includes event production; complete organization; arranging for the camera crew, crowd, theme, and creating the vibe; and everything else.
It is not uncommon to go without sleep for a few days in a row, just working on the computer and phone, and not in a club.
It is a lot of hard work. And then, when the night comes, if everything was right and people are having a great time, I enjoy it, too.
Our events recently have been featured in many magazines and on TV networks. One recent event was inNew Yorkduring Fashion Week where P. Diddy, Rihanna, Ciara, Kim Kardashian, Chris Brown, and Drake came to our event. It grabbed a lot of media and, for us, it was a great reference.
…TO BE ABLE TO FLY
Story by Jake Coleman
All my life, I have had a fascination with birds, jets, space shuttles, and all things that could soar high into the sky.
Looking deep into the aqua-colored sky, I imagine myself high above a cloud, ascending toward the stars and moon.
As my life progressed, I came to see that you don’t need wings to fly.
My runway is the hardwood and I am preparing for launch. As the tunnel vision sets to the end of the runway, it’s take-off. My mind is accelerating as I grip the orange Spalding ball, yet I feel slow as if I’m stuck in time. My heart starts to beat faster, feeling as if it is roaring like the engines of a jet.
What seemed to be time at its slowest is just magnified. Creeping gradually as if gravity is fading by the second, I float. I sit at the top of the gym that’s transformed into sky.
Boom! The ball whips through the rim, leaving a “swish” to echo throughout the gym.
Casually, I drift back toward land and end up on the runway. Another flight I’ve taken to the clouds and back to reality.
The feeling of flying is unique and can take you beyond imagination. No matter if you’re on a plane, watching the birds, or using your own two feet.