It was about 2 AM one morning, and I was in the middle of frantically writing a last minute paper for a Shakespeare class when I checked my email. I was hoping to get an extension from my professor, but instead I had a message from my coach that said, “Hey someone sent me this yesterday, and it looks like something right up your alley. Check it out.” Once I started checking out the SCL website, I was almost too excited to even get back to my paper. I applied immediately, not thinking I’d even have a shot. I don’t even think I slept that night, partly from excitement and partly because I had to finish my paper.
The following day, I called my dad. Several weeks before finding out about Sport Changes Life, I’d just been accepted into a program called YWAM where I would spend three months in Colorado and another three months overseas doing missions work. So when he answered the phone, I told him, “Listen up, Dad, I have a little curve ball for you…” I told him that I’d just applied for this awesome program but that I didn’t have my hopes up too high because it seemed too good to be true. He agreed.
Then several weeks later, I was on a run through campus when I got a call from a UK phone number. I almost didn’t answer because those international charges are absurd. Plus, I’d almost forgotten about my application because I assumed they’d just found someone better. But with a little trace of hope in my heart, I answered the call. Low and behold, a woman named Aimee Shiels introduces herself and asks if I’d like to have an interview. Oh, my heart! I screamed, quit my run immediately, sprinted to my coach’s office, and told her the news. Sure, it was only the first interview, but I had thought all hope was lost! I’d almost given up on the dream and accepted my offer to YWAM. The next day, I did the interview in the kitchen of my apartment with my roommate of four years listening in the background. She came in after I was done and said, “Hey, if nothing else, your glasses were working for you. At least you looked smart.” I sure hoped she was right.
They said they’d get back to me about a second interview any time between late the 20-26 of April… So April 30 came around, and yet again, I figured I’d gotten the boot. Then that beautiful name Aimee Shiels popped up in my email to tell me I had made it through to the second round. I cannot over-exaggerate the nervousness I felt as I paced around Travelers Rest, SC, and talked on the phone to all those board members. You would have thought I was talking to Justin Timberlake the way my heart was racing. I was sweating by the time I got off the phone, and I called my dad immediately to recount every single thing I said to make sure that it was okay.
Finally, after the roller coaster of emotions that was my application experience, I found out on my graduation day that I’d been accepted as a Victory Scholar. My parents were in my kitchen helping me pack up some dishes while I was back in my room haphazardly throwing clothes into trash bags when I got an email notification from my new favorite person. Aimee Shiels, of course. Seeing that name in my email will forever be burned into my mind as a symbol of good news. A beacon of hope, if you will. I screamed after I read the first sentence: “I’m delighted to inform you that you have been selected…” I honestly didn’t read anything else after that. I just screamed. Both my parents ran into my room, thinking I’d found a snake or some other beast of the wild. We jumped around and hugged and I may or may not have cried. Since then I’ve pretty much been daydreaming nonstop about coming over here and helping this organization make a difference in Ireland. Now here I am, and the dream is slowly but surely becoming a reality.