Ever since I was in 5th grade I knew I wanted to work in sports in any way possible. I would come home from school every day in 5th grade with my bowl of ice cream and my iPad to watch the college basketball updates from the night before. I was obsessed. Now, 8 years later, I sat in the Accor Arena reporting on the Chicago Bulls vs. Detroit Pistons basketball game in Paris, France. 5th grade Caroline would’ve thought you were joking if you told her this.
I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Paris, France with the College of Journalism and Communications alongside 24 other students to write a story on the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons. It was a life changing experience. We were assigned to write stories on the cultural aspects of having the NBA game in a different country. It was fascinating to travel to Paris with that perspective. I was able to witness the basketball culture in France and the excitement that this game created for the city. We spent most of the trip exploring Paris, interviewing locals, and collecting information to build our stories. On Thursday, January 19th, we were able to go to the NBA game. The energy during the game was electric, filled with celebrities in the stands and fans wearing designer clothes. It was a cultural experience — not just a game.
My favorite part of this experience was when we stumbled upon a group of local men playing pick-up basketball at Terrain de basket du Champ de Mars, a court just under the Eiffel Tower. Going into to this trip, I had one wish and that was to play pickup somewhere in Paris. Therefore, stumbling upon this game beyond exciting. I went up to the locals and motioned to play “3 on 3” due to the language barrier. They said yes and greeted me with kindness and inclusion, and we proceeded to play three games straight. Three games later, I gained new friends and a new perspective of the basketball culture in France. This spontaneous game led to a large part of my story and an experience that I will remember forever.
Not only did we report on the basketball game, but we were also able to experience wonderful local food and many excursion experiences. When we first arrived in Paris, we were taken to the Montparnasse Tower which had a beautiful view of all of Paris. We were then given tours of the Stade de France and Roland Garros (where the French Open is played). As a sports fan myself, being able to see behind the scenes of all these famous sporting venues made me feel like I was in my element.
My word of advice: Study abroad! Apply for these opportunities! Even if you feel like you aren’t qualified, still just go for it. You never know what opportunities may present themselves. It was an experience of a lifetime and I could not be more grateful for having the honor of participating in this trip. As I said earlier, it was an experience that my 5th grade self would have only ever dreamed of.
a Phi Mu Sister