Erland reflects on FCA internship in Europe
Argos women’s basketball senior returns from rewarding summer trip
PENSACOLA, Fla. – Emily Erland of the West Florida women’s basketball team recently completed a summer internship in Europe partnered with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Erland, who is currently in her senior season in 2012-13, checked in with UWF Athletic Communications to describe her experiences.
Erland internship journal Part 2
The dreaded question, the one that I’ve already been asked countless number of times: “How was your trip?” Don’t get me wrong. I don’t dread answering it because I had a miserable time on my trip; I dread it because I had an amazing experience – one that I still haven’t been able to properly put it into words. I’ll try.
My trip was a summer-long sports ministry internship partnered with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. There were nearly 20 other interns with me from all across the U.S. and Europe. We spent our first half of the summer in a small town in northern Italy; the second half, we spent in England – beginning in a town near Oxford and finishing in Hackney, one of the poorer boroughs of London.
Our time in England was much different from our time in Italy. In Italy, we spent much of our time learning through doing things, while in England, we spent much of our time learning in the classroom – about leadership, about how to serve people in the arena of sports, about the different sports ministry opportunities that are available around the world. Still, we had our share of physical challenges, too – I recall quite a few morning runs through rain and muddy fields.
The last week of our internship, we partnered with a local church in Hackney to help run a kids camp connected with the More Than Gold ministry, an organization interested in engaging the churches with the Olympic Games. So while the Olympics were being held just about two miles from us, we held our own sort of Kids Olympics at the church – with basketball, soccer, volleyball, and even table tennis and badminton. In the afternoon, the kids were free to play games or watch the Olympics on a big screen projector in one of the rooms.
It was so incredible to have the opportunity to be in London during the Olympics. This summer really opened my eyes and my mind to all of the places that sports can take you in life – whether it be going to college in Florida to play basketball or teaching kids sports in a tiny town in Italy or competing to be a world champion in London. I was able to work with people and kids from all over the world this summer, people whose cultures I know nothing about, and yet, we were able to connect because of a common bond that we all shared – sports. So maybe we’re not all cut out to be Olympians, but with a love and commitment to sports, we can still go places – even if we make it there a little slower than Usain Bolt would.
So how was my trip? Challenging. Eye-opening. Incredible. Better than anything that I could have ever imagined. Anyone who loves God, sports, and people, and is up for a challenge – go. It will change your life. I know it changed mine.
The UWF women’s basketball team will start the 2012-13 season at home on Nov. 9 against Southern Indiana at the UWF Tip-Off Classic. For information on all UWF athletics, visit www.GoArgos.com.