Over the next few days we will be posting reflections on our blog from our 2018 summer interns regarding their experience working with us and a few things they learned. Today, we have Nick Mooney, who will be starting his senior year at Ball State University here in a few weeks:
It’s crazy to think that I’m now in my final week with Nine13. Looking back, a lot has happened this summer since I joined Nine13sports as an intern, yet it feels like it truly has flown by. This experience was my first internship, but it didn’t feel like what I expected an internship to be. Stereotypically, you’ll see “interns” in movies and TV that are simply there to fetch coffee or perform undesirable manual labor. However, that was not the case this summer, as I actually felt like a part of the team at Nine13sports. As an intern, I undertook an array of duties. Some of these duties obviously involved running the Kids Riding Bikes program across many different schools, clubs, and events. I also wrote various blog entries for Nine13sports.org, dug into potential media connections, practiced graphic design, and just generally contributed to the betterment and growth of the organization as a whole.
I think overall, the best lesson I got out of this internship experience was learning about universal importance of the bicycle. I was no stranger to bike riding prior to my time with Nine13sports, but I never felt its true importance resonate with me the way it does now.
First of all, obviously, the bike is an excellent tool for exercise and activity, which is the main message with our Kids Riding Bikes program. There were a number of moments when running the program where I would hear some of the younger kids say something along the lines of, “Is this like exercise? This is fun!”
Additionally, I also learned from first-hand experience what an awesome and convenient method of actual transportation the bike is, especially in a great city like Indianapolis. Just recently, I tagged along on a short bike ride to the rededication of the Marshall ‘Major’ Taylor Indiana State Historical Marker located at the intersection of 38th and the Monon Trail. Along with that, I also biked with Nathan Smurdon from his house, 3 miles to the Convention Center downtown where we were running our programming at the Indiana Black Expo Health Fair.
Finally, and most importantly, I learned what a great source of positivity and empowerment the bicycle can provide. Recently, at one of my last days of running the Kids Riding Bikes program, Nathan and I were met with the common challenge of having a kid whose level of determination greatly exceeded his own size, meaning that while he wanted to race all the other kids as fast as they were going, he simply couldn’t keep up. This was at no fault of his own, other than the fact that he just wasn’t big enough yet. He kept riding even after his peers had finished and taken a break because he was so determined to show that he could do it and improve. Nathan and I withstood the storm of a temper flare (or two) and made sure we kept him focused on bettering himself and his bike riding abilities, not worrying about how the other kids were doing. By the end of the day, he showed us, and himself, drastic improvement over where he started from the beginning of the afternoon. When it came time for us to pack up and leave the location, he begrudgingly trotted away to return to his friends on the other side of the gym. However, not two minutes later he walking came back, and before Nathan could even finish reminding the boy that he had just told him we were done biking for the day, the boy ran up and hugged Nathan with a smile on his face. He quickly came over and did the same to me before walking back to the other side of the gym with his friends. This moment was really an excellent moment of finality for me with the Kids Riding Bikes program. It perfectly encompassed everything the program is made for and showed the true importance that it has on the Indianapolis community.
Overall, I can easily say this was the best summer work experience I’ve had. Not only did I work hard each day, but I also developed valuable career skills, received useful advice, and had fun every step of the way. I’m so glad to have gotten to know the staff at Nine13sports this summer, and I won’t be able to forget the incredible time I’ve had as I put my newfound skills and lessons to use throughout my future career.