Stephen Hobbs and ESPN U Campus Connection
Feb. 5, 2009
Hello, my name is Stephen Hobbs. I am a sophomore water polo player at Santa Clara University, and this is my ESPN U Campus Connection Week experience!
It has been my life-long dream to be a broadcaster on ESPN. Little did I know that it would happen so early in my college career!
It all began when the Media Relations Director at Santa Clara, Michelle Schmitt, approached me about being the sideline reporter for our men's basketball game against the University of San Francisco that was to be broadcast on ESPNU. ESPN was featuring its "Campus Connection Week" where students from all across the country would take part in different aspects of the broadcasts during that week. When Michelle first told me I was so ecstatic, but I soon became extremely nervous. Being a sports broadcaster is something that I want to do as a career, what if I screw up?
I had about two weeks to prepare for the game, but it felt like two days. I talked to the producer for the game, Jerry Weinstein, and we collaborated on two background stories I was going to use for the game. One of the stories was on star basketball player John Bryant an his art sculpture from a class last quarter. The second story was on Noelle Lopez, the cross country captain and the first female Rhodes Scholar award winner in the history of Santa Clara. I spent hours upon hours writing, rewording, and memorizing these stories.
Before I knew what had hit me the big day was already around the corner. I asked anyone who I could think of for advice, and I soaked in as much information as I could. I barely slept the night before because thoughts were running through my head, not thoughts of anxiety but thoughts of anticipation.
On the day of the game, I arrived to the Leavey Center, our basketball arena, at 4pm, so I could go over the many different aspects of the broadcast with the ESPNU crew. I met with Amy Smollens, who was the sideline producer for the night. She was extremely helpful throughout the broadcast, and she was there to answer the large amount of questions I had.
After hours of preparation and meeting many of the people I would be working with that night, including the broadcasters, Steve Physioc and Krista Blunk, it was time to do my first piece. Luckily for me, and the people watching the broadcast, the segment was taped. I messed up many times, but I got through it. After that, most of the night was like a blur.
As the game started and the night progressed I did my story on Noelle Lopez, and I had the fantastic opportunity to do three other stories as well. One of which highlighted my water polo teammates at the game where I talked about trading in my suit (business suit) for the other suit I wear when competing, a Speedo - showing my Speedo and cap on camera. I could not thank my team enough for showing up to support me, but also they were extremely encouraging throughout the game. My Santa Clara water polo coach, Keith Wilbur, was there as well and his support meant a lot to me as well. What a great coach!
As the final buzzer sounded and the game ended, I felt so confident and happy with my first performance that I wanted to do more. The experience went even better than I thought it would, and I had so much fun in the process.
When I went home that night and thought about the amazing experience I had that day, I realized the magnitude of the event. How many people my age get to live their dream? I was so humbled and honored by the experience but I was left wanting more. I hope there are many opportunities for me in the near future, and I can't wait to be in front of the camera again.