Tag Archives: WTA

Landing my dream interview

The unexpected joys of intern life

Me and American professional tennis player Madison Keys

One word describes my time in The Observer newsroom this summer: unexpected.

When I unpacked my AP Stylebook, notepad, click erasers and voice recorder into my blindingly teal desk June 3, I never expected to hunt mushrooms or paint barn quilts — at work.

Most of all, though, I never expected to meet and interview a professional tennis player in DeWitt, Iowa.

I’ve loved tennis since I picked up a racket at 15, and I usually gush about Swiss icon Roger Federer just 10-15 minutes into a chat with someone new. When my managing editor assigned me a feature piece about 18-year-old American pro Madison Keys, who has family in town, I was elated.

As I watched Keys play in the third round of Wimbledon on my laptop, I couldn’t believe I’d meet her in a few days.

As she pounded groundstrokes over the net, I scribbled pages of notes about her — her career record (84-48), her favorite player growing up (Belgium’s Kim Clijsters), her world ranking (No. 52, as of July 7).

Finally, I wrote the kind of questions I before had only dreamed of writing — questions about net play, the demands of the Women’s Tennis Association tour, match superstitions and slice shots.

Despite my meticulous preparation, I walked to Keys’ aunt’s house slowly on Friday, at once timid and eager.

Her warm smile instantly eased any qualms I had, and I couldn’t stop smiling as we delved into the world of aces, rankings, rackets and Grand Slams.

Writing about Madison Keys cemented my goal to work as a tennis writer someday. While I’ll never reach her level in my own game or lace my sneakers at Wimbledon, I get a thrill when I write about tennis.

When I write about tennis, my MacBook Pro is my own Centre Court at Wimbledon — and I always win.

Why the urge to ‘out-busy’ harms students

“I am so busy.”

A sentence I hear constantly.

As constantly as I crave Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream. As constantly as I ascend the 48 steps to my room. As constantly as I check ESPN for the latest ATP and WTA news.

Though the sentence seems innocent enough, it reveals a socially toxic trend, one I confess I take part in: the out-busy. When a classmate describes his or her week, seven days usually replete in due dates, essays, projects and tests, my mind instantly swerves to my own week, one usually replete in the same stressors.

DSC02833A hasty “Wow!” later, I describe my own week, careful to accent the grave nature of my own stressors. I am always eager to out-busy my fellow students.

As fellow college students, though, we ought to comfort each other. We ought to ask when the essay is due, what the project is about and when the test is. The out-busy trend reveals that we are self-centered students who hardly accept that we are all stuck in a relentless state of busyness, one we hope leads to career success.

Plus, when we try to out-busy, we neglect a chance to learn.

“Your paper is about the decline of the Occupy Wall Street movement? Tell me more.”

However, I am yet stuck on my own more. More due dates, more essays, more projects, more tests. More busy. More me.

And, I confess, less you.

Clearly, I need to acknowledge that “more” is a staple of college. That we all balance many tasks and bear many stressors.

That I need less me and more you.

How about we discuss next week’s mutual busyness over a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream?

Learning to love the web

I entered my web page design course in a state of dread — even as a news-Internet student. But the glare exhausts my eyes, I moaned. But I love the smear of ink on my hands as I turn the pages, I whined. But I prefer the scratch of a pen to the click of a key, I reasoned.

Learning to love words on paper and on screen

Clearly, I made excuses for my nerves about web design. I was nervous to muddle through the medium I regularly dubbed a new language — one I refused to learn. Anchor text. Backlinks. Meta tags. Permalinks. Thanks to the class (and a helpful Internet glossary), though, I no longer fear the web. I understand that the web plays a powerful role in the field I love. And, that maybe, just maybe, I can love all words equally, whether on paper or on screen. Continue reading