I flew home from the Springs yesterday, full of tears, sad that the time had come for me to finally leave Team USA. But as I made my way through three different airports, three different times, I was approached by people asking me what sport I played, how I did at the Games, if I won a medal. All because I was wearing a Team USA t-shirt. And that’s when I saw the impact my summer internship had. We always had Olympic fever in our Olympic bubble at the Olympic Training Center. But for 17 days this summer, everyone had that fever. And we were a part of that.
When people ask me how my time in Colorado was, I’ve got one word prepared: perfect. I lived at the Olympic Training Center, made friends with gold medalists and Olympians, covered the Games, hiked a fourteener, went backstage at O.A.R., saw Peyton Manning’s first game as a Bronco, survived the Waldo Canyon Fire, saw the Phillies in Denver, ran ten 5Ks, ate way too much McDonald’s soft serve, and documented the whole experience.
I helped run TeamUSA.org, learned that Instagram is like Twitter with pictures, ran the Team USA app during the Games, wrote stories, took photos, helped with video shoots, and so much more. My time at Team USA certainly didn’t go to waste. It wasn’t your typical, cookie-cutter internship, that’s for sure.
Perhaps most importantly, I’ve made incredible lifelong friends. I came to Colorado to work, so coming home with new best friends wasn’t something I expected. And now, I can’t imagine life without them. The laughter and jokes and common interests made for a more valuable learning experience than I could have imagined. Dom went back to school a few weeks ago for his last semester to play football at Colorado Mesa University. It was a test run for when all three of us were separated, and our group iMessage is always buzzing, as if the three of us were never apart. Connor left yesterday to spend a month in Europe with the Paralympic Games, and still, it hasn’t stopped the three of us from texting and emailing and staying in touch.
I moved back into my apartment at Temple last night, and the first thing I put up was a framed picture of my two best friends and I on top of Quandary Peak, one of my proudest moments of the summer. There’s a quote that goes, “Let it all go, because nothing can change, and if something is lost, then there’s something to frame.” The best part is, my friends aren’t lost, they’re not going anywhere, but they’re certainly worth framing. I’ll miss them terribly, I’ll miss Team USA, but we’ll stay close, and I could never forget this summer.