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.