In the 14 Days I was in Taipei City as a FISU Young Reporter at the Summer Universiade, I wrote over 20 articles, sat in on 12 lectures, attended my first ever press conference, watched three sports for the first time, missed more deadlines than I made, experienced Taipei tea culture and tried pigs blood cake…
The experience was something I will never forget.
My brain is still buzzing three days after landing back in New Zealand, and I’ve finally found a spare minute to relax and revise almost everything that happened.
Here’s what I learned in approximately 360 hours at the 29th Summer Universiade in Taipei City…
Research, research, research.
Research to reporters is like vodka to teenagers, the more you have in your system the more confident you become…
I learned pretty quickly how important connectivity is as a reporter in a multi-sport environment- so I downloaded the Taipei2017 app and surfed it like Slater. The more you know, the better your articles will be. Be curious, about everything. Learn about the athletes, the games, the schedules and bus timetables…
Back up your work.
Not just your words. Your photos. Your videos. The pain of losing content during the Games is enough to send you running to your un-used hotel bed.
Sport is so much more powerful than medals and podiums
Sport as expression, sport as a self-saviour, sport as social tool. Attending a multi-sport event is a window in to new worlds. I met rhythmic gymnast who described how the music ‘chose’ them. I learned about the “Judo for Peace” project, that looks to educate and connect people from around the world.
EVERYONE has a story to tell
Boston, the Main Press Centre (MPC) manager, averaged between three and five hours of sleep during the two-week Universiade to ensure that everything was ready and working for the 400 press representatives expected to use the space during the Games. He was also the one who suggested that a prayer room be included in the MPC, which was not a requirement for the facility.
Dennis, one of the FISU local young reporters, was involved in a major car crash earlier this year which helped to re-calibrate the way he looks at life, to never stop enjoying it. He also makes fantastic videos of his travels with friends.
One of the volunteers inside the MPC, who wore stunning purple glasses, is a retired Sports Professor from a university in Taipei. Everyone has a story. Period.
Respect, respect, respect.
I spoke with innumerable volunteers and organisers who committed hours every day to help anyone that needed it. From the village to the venues, the MPC and security, the sheer amount of help and kindness was awe-inspiring. For me, this was especially true on my ‘taekwondo night’, where I finally cracked from exhaustion and couldn’t locate the bus to get me back to the MPC in time to connect me to my hotel…
I could probably spend two weeks on the FISU website learning about the associations history and still learn something new every minute.
Summer Universiade. Winter Universiade. World University Championships. World University Leagues. Educational Services. International Day of Sport. You get the idea…
Fake eyelashes and bright lipstick are fantastic tools to hide the tired
Sleep is a luxury not enjoyed by many reporters at multi-sport events, this is definitely a media-life-hack…
There is support and out there.
On the verge of retirement? Injured? Overwhelmed or confused about what’s next? As a young reporter at the Universiade I have experienced, first-hand, how many people really do care and a willing to help if you are stay open. Which brings me to the next point…
Put your ego at the door
This programme was a steep learning curve! After over a decade dedicated to my sport and paying inadequate attention to my studies, this was an environment that extended me in ways I’ve never experienced. What did I learn from the struggle? Communicate when you are stressed, don’t be afraid to ask dumb questions in the mixed zone and get off your butt to talk to the people around you (remember point 1 😉 ).
Pressure creates diamonds.
Reporting at a major multi-sport event? It’s relentless, and it’s amazing. The late nights, the stress, the missed buses and rushed articles are only temporary. The pressure, the adrenaline, the energy and experience are not things that happen in everyday life.
Ride the tough times and give yourself completely to the unexpected moments, the unforgettable conversations and new tastes.
As American journalist and humarist, Arthur Baer put it “A newspaper is a circulating library with high blood pressure”.
Satisfaction is hitting that little x
There’s nothing more cathartic than closing 14 internet tabs, three Word documents and an excel spreadsheet after submitting a stunning, well researched and balanced article.
Keep your eyes and ears open, then jump in!
Go watch different sports, strike up random conversations and leave your shyness at the door. As Susan Jeffers puts it, “rejection is rejection—wherever it is found. So you begin to protect yourself, and, as a result, greatly limit yourself. You begin to shut down and close out the world around you.” Did it hurt getting cold looks from athletes who didn’t want to interview? Yup. Did asking dumb questions about sports I didn’t understand intimidate me? Yup. Did it stop me from chasing stories and pushing myself to learn more? No.
“We can’t control the world (or the bus schedule or missed interview…) but we can control our reactions to it” – Susan Jeffers. Don’t let the challenges keep you down. As a Young Reporter at the 2017 World Universiade, I have learned to confront my fears, challenge myself intellectually, emotionally and even physically. It is an experience I will never forget, and I can’t stop smiling.
I am more than just a swimmer. I am more than just an athlete.