Your Biggest Fear: Why It’s Not That Scary

  • BY CHEYN ROUX | Graduate Assistant | Ball State Sports Link

Take a deep breath.

A couple weeks ago, our Sports Link staff was having a meeting going over who in our program was fulfilling which duties during our first two ESPN3 broadcasts of the year.

We began to go over who would do play-by-play and color commentating, and I would be lying if I secretly did not want to be in that mix.

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My love for soccer started at an early age.

I threw the idea to our program’s senior director, even though two color commentators is not ideal in broadcast booths.

The staff liked the idea, considering I could bring some of my “playing experience” to the broadcasts.   I earned four letters in soccer and was a team captain at Capital University.

Part of me was ecstatic for this opportunity, while the other part of me was going: “What are you THINKING?!”

Flashback to when I was six years old.

In first grade, I had to start taking this speech class during the day because I not only had trouble pronouncing my “TH’s”, I also had a horrendous stutter.

When I talked, I would get super excited and I would stammer the first letter of the FIRST word in my statement.  Horrendous.

It was almost as if I was a broken record player that no one could shut off. Whenever I did begin to stutter, my teacher would remind me to stop, take a deep breath, and start again.  I would then get my statement out and it worked every time.

As I got older, gaining confidence became harder and harder because I was made fun of whenever I would stutter in front of others.

I hated school. The most embarrassing thing was when I would talk to an adult and I could see the pity in their eyes when I still haven’t gotten my first word out yet.

How could someone take you seriously when your speech does not sound fluid?

I remember a time in middle school, I got called on for a question in class.  I stuttered my answer so badly, I could hear snickers from different parts of the classroom.  That was followed by a “come on, guys” from the teacher.

It was frustrating because I had so much to say, but I could just not get it out. I was mocked for it by kids.  It was hard — for a long time —  to feel confident with my speech and whatever I wanted to say.

Fast-forward to the day of our first live event. John Gordon, Aly Kohanowski and I prepared for that broadcast heavily.

Researching both teams, figuring out stories to talk about, rehearsing our on-air segments — everything.

It was funny too, as I would be asked by other people in Sports Link about the broadcasts.

“How are you feeling? You ready?”

I would shrug and say something along the lines of “I’ll be fine.”  But, in my mind, I pictured a miniature version of me rocking back in forth in my own puddle of tears.

As the broadcast began, I remembered what my speech teacher and parents reminded me all the time: stop, take a deep breath and start again.

That afternoon, along with the following Sunday, Sports Link gave me the opportunity to do color commentary on the game of soccer that I have followed and played since I was a little kid.

Not only was I able to talk about the sport I love, but I did what my younger self could never imagine.

There are still times where I do stutter or stammer.  I usually try to cover it up with a taekwondo sound effect or just laugh it off. Why? Because it happens.

Things are going to happen in life that don’t go your way or frustrate you. That is completely normal.

What matters is how you respond to it. So instead of letting it get to you, remember to stop, take a deep breath … and start again.


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