Michael Phelps is a funny guy

I’m about six weeks into my internship at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and I’m finally contributing to this blog. It’s been a long time coming, I know. But really, don’t thank me.

Thank Michael Phelps.

Let me just start off by saying that “I’ve been really busy” would be a grosser understatement than describing the city of Cleveland as “happy” today. But such is life.

I’m now taking advantage of some recreational writing time I’ve somehow come across today to tell you all about the single greatest moment of my juvenile journalism career: I asked Michael Phelps a question.

Now, let it be noted that feeling starstruck rarely happens when it becomes your job. At a point you realize that as Matt Ryan is starring you in the face answering whatever it is that just crawled out of your mouth, he’s just another human being. It’s a weird feeling, especially having lived in Atlanta my whole life and having grown up a Falcons fan (boo fanhood, what’s a fan? Not I.) But even so, this time around I was particularly nervous. I mean, it’s Michael Phelps. In my honest opinion, he is one of–if not the–greatest athletes of our generation. Well, ever really. And to have the opportunity to see him swim competitively in person, after he originally retired no less, was an experience in and of itself.

After he beat out Ryan Lochte in the 100-meter butterfly in Athens yesterday, he talked to the media for about 15 minutes and was one of the more personable and humorous athletes I’ve had the opportunity to talk to, even briefly (one question but hey, he gave a great response). And with that, I want to recount some of the other great experiences I’ve had over the last few weeks at the AJC to make up for my absence from the blog until today.

1. Breaking the story that Tray Matthews’ dismissal from UGA was credited to a classroom disruption during Maymester, among other things. And on my third day on the job. That was a blast and a half.

2. Meeting and interviewing Meb Keflezighi, the 2014 Boston Marathon winner and the first American to win the race since the early 80s. He also won it after the horrendous Boston bombings the year prior, which was an inspiring moment for that city and the country as a whole.

3. Watching talented women like Maya Moore and Candace Parker do what they do best. Man, can those ladies ball out. I had a chance to interview Moore as well, and she really is someone young women should look up to.

4. Getting the last interview with linebacker Akeem Dent before his trade to Houston. Everyone had a feeling he was on his way out of Atlanta, and when I pulled him aside one day at minicamp, he had no idea he’d be traded hours later. It made the quotes I had all the more interesting, specifically because he talked about the stiff competition within his position group.

And now some of the more ridiculous experience I’ve had that constantly remind me of how fun this job truly is.

1. Nearly getting trucked by Atlanta Falcon Jonathan Massaquoi during minicamp and getting the whole thing on video.

2. Trying to come up with 10 ideas of what Tray Matthews could turn his Georgia ‘G’ tattoo into and somehow succeeding. The letter ‘G’ is awful and now I hate it. Have you ever realized it kind of looks like a pizza pie missing a slice? I almost lost my mind that day, but it ended up being the fourth most-read story on the site that weekend.

3. Interviewing a sassy nine-year-old runner the day before the Peachtree Road Race. We need to interview more children. Their soundbites are so pure it kills me.

4. Writing at 30+ inch story about birds. Yes, birds. Bald eagles to be exact, and I loved every minute of it.

And coming up…Falcons training camp while “Hard Knocks” films. I’m expecting that to be an interesting experience as well. Lists aside, I’ve learned so much that I feel as if I could take on the world. Obviously that’s a bit of a hyperbole, but the lessons I’ve come across in the last month and a half are seriously invaluable.

I wrote a running gamer for print, an updated one for digital and another story after the WNBA All-Stars were announced all in one night. Talk about the ultimate test of time management. And as I’m sure professor Michaelis can attest to this, that has always been one of my greater challenges as a reporter. But oh, the thrill of deadline. But a plug for you professor Michaelis–I literally could not have done it without your class. I barely did it at all. It’s tough stuff, a deadline gamer. But as my wonderful editor says, the only way to learn how to write on deadline is to just do it. And so I did, and thankfully he was proud of what I had accomplished.

And with that, I will now fall off the face of the earth for another six weeks. I’m kidding of course. I’ll come back to update as soon as I can. Can I shamelessly self-promote? To read my work, go to tanyasic.wordpress.com. I try and update it as often as possible with each story I write at the AJC, and it also has some of my work from The Red & Black as well. Thanks for reading, friends. It’s been quite the ride, and frankly I don’t want it to ever end.


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