Around the World in 230 Days

Several times this year, I’ve had these thoughts: “When will they end? What number X Games is this again? What month is it?” Now that all six events (as well as an additional two of four GRC races) are in the rearview and I’ve had a few moments to contemplate all that happened this past year, I find myself thinking, “How did it all fly by so fast?”

This has been an incredible year. My job at ESPN has always changed from year to year, and it’s one of the things I love best about what I do: the constant inconsistency. I cover such a variety of sports and because of that, I travel to places very few sportswriters ever see and have the privilege to meet so many incredibly interesting people who have little in common aside from being amazing at what they do and being written about by me. Every year seems to bring new challenges and oftentimes, a career change within ESPN. From copyeditor to online editor to writer to magazine editor to full-time writer to Jane of all trades. But this year has been the changiest yet. And because of that, an event I’ve covered for 11 years–the X Games–felt new and exciting and stressful in ways it hasn’t in years. I learned an entirely new job as a TV sideline reporter and studio anchor and segment producer and on-camera interviewer, and I learned it all on live TV.

That’s also where I made, and continue to make, my mistakes. It’s been a strange learning process. While doing my job, I have little awareness that what I’m doing is being broadcast around the world. And that’s a good thing. I’m not used to people being able to see me do my job. What a strange thought! I become most aware of the cameras after I make a mistake or ask a question I wish I had worded more smartly or with fewer words or do something completely moronic, like search for a camera to film a winner interview WHILE I’M BEING FILMED BY THAT CAMERA AND BROADCAST ON LIVE TV. Use the brain part of your brain, Roenigk!

All of that said, it is a privilege to work in live TV, to be in the center of the action and to have the opportunity to ask the questions viewers are thinking at home and not have to wait until the post-event press conference in order to do so. I’ve racked up a privileged amount of frequent flier miles this year, made awesome new friends and have an iphone photo album packed with memories. Who gets to conduct interviews from a vert ramp in a national forest in Brazil, an Olympic stadium in Barcelona, the middle of a lake in Munich, inside a megaramp elevator in Los Angeles and, my favorite so far, atop Topi Heikkinen’s rallycross car? Somehow, unbelievably, I did. And I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity.

I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store.

Wait. What?! It’s only August. Sounds like a perfect time to put those frequent flyer miles to good use.


X Games Aspen: My first gig as a sideline reporter. So I brought along the GoPro … think my cameraman is jealous of its size?



X Games Tignes: I was the only reporter in Tignes, so the days were long – but the view, and the downtime snowboarding, was spectacular. I wore a lot of hats, literally and figuratively, at this event.


Sao Paulo, Brazil: I spent a week reporting a pre-Foz feature on skateboarder Leticia Bufoni. She took me surfing. But first, I did some work.


Florianopolis, Brazil: For another pre-Foz feature for the magazine, I spent time with skateboarder Pedro Barros at his home in Flor, where he has one of the best backyard bowls in the world.


X Games Foz do Iguacu: The first of our four summer X Games stops. This is the TV crew … We’d have a lot of fun together over the next four months.


X Games Foz do Iguacu: Gratuitous waterfall shot from Foz.


X Games Barcelona: At each stop, a group of us spent a day touring the city and trying to soak up as much culture, history and good food and wine as possible. In Barcelona, that included stops at many of Antoni Gaudi’s creations, including La Sagrada Familia.


X Games Munich: Rain, rain, go away! Seriously. Like now. Rain and wind forced the cancellation of freestyle motocross in Barcelona and Munich, RallyCross in Barcelona and several events in Munich. Thank goodness it never rains in California!


X Games Los Angeles: I did a few pre-X interviews for SportsCenter from high atop the Big Air quarterpipe in Irwindale. Here, I chat with Bob Burnquist as bodies and skateboards fly through the air behind us.


X Games LA: Zack Warden is a BMX rider who wins Big Air events. Still, he was less than comfortable with the bottle-rocket skateboarder bodies flying behind our set.


X Games LA: The best view at X Games is always from the top of the Big Air roll-in. So why not start the show interviewing Bob Burnquist from there?!


X Games LA: And while we’re at it, during BMX Big Air, why not interview Zack and Chad Kagy from inside the super sketchy elevator?













X Games LA: RallyCross was the final X Games event held in LA – next year, we move to Austin, TX. This was the final shot. I think it was pretty memorable. At least it was for me!



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