There is a popular cliché for parents to tell their kids to “dream big” and to “reach for the stars” while they are young. When they get older, however, those kids, who were once five or ten years old, grow up to realize that to achieve their dreams, it takes more than a simple dream to be successful. It takes effort, self-discipline and motivation.
For Syracuse University student Bamidele Idowu, these traits serve as the foundation for his life every day.
Growing up in the Queens, a rough, poverty-stricken neighborhood in New York City, Idowu, 21, gained a true understanding of discipline and hard work despite the circumstances that surrounded him. For Idowu, it was in this neighborhood that he gained his life motto of “it’s a dog eats dog world. Eat or be eaten.”
Pronounced Bah-mi-deli E-doh-wu, Idowu’s father, Sanya, named Idowu after his grandfather. Idowu’s name means “follow me home.”
“My name is very unique,” said Idowu. “I didn’t spend a lot of time with my grandfather but I live through his name and that means a lot to me.”
From the Queens, Idowu went to north Philadelphia to attend Girard College, a boarding school that played an instrumental role in shaping Idowu in to the man he is today.
“I spent 10 years of my life there and I learned a lot from my peers, residential advisors and teachers,” said Idowu. “They instilled in me the values of respect, responsibility, integrity, self-discipline and compassion.”
Similar to the Queens in New York, Girard College is located in the heart of north Philly, a dangerous area and something that Idowu was familiar with.
However, Idowu said he appreciates the way he was brought up and where he comes from.
“My hometowns made who I am and I take big pride in that,” Idowu said.
Idowu expressed a love for sports as a child, playing basketball, football and soccer in elementary and middle school and running track and cross country in high school.
While gaining a love for sports, Idowu also gained a passion for sports reporting in the process.
“People like Stuart Scott and Ahmad Rashad influenced me to pursue a career in sports reporting and mass communication,” Idowu said. “You don’t really see many black males on television. I noticed that as a child and wanted to make a difference in that area.”
Pursuing his passion as a broadcast digital journalism student at Syracuse, Idowu decided to apply for the 2016 Stuart Scott Internship, a new internship that was created by the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and ESPN in memory of Stuart Scott for his contributions to sports journalism.
Idowu said he was very nervous to apply for the scholarship.
“I honestly didn’t think I would get it because I mean, it’s Stuart Scott. He’s the greatest of all time in my eyes,” Idowu said. “Many others applied and I felt like one lucky student would get it before me.”
For Idowu, however, the dream of working in a place where his idol once worked became a reality.
The NABJ Sports Task Force and ESPN notified Idowu that he would be the first recipient of the internship opportunity.
Idowu said he was emotional and could not believe it that he received the opportunity.
“I cried when I found out that I won. Stuart Scott is the man every young black kid wanted to be when we were younger. He was cool, intelligent and always kept it real,” Idowu said. “I know there are a lot of people that look at me and say why him? Well, I ask myself that too but my faith in the Lord is what got me here.”
Idowu also said it was amazing to be featured on SportsCenter for being the first recipient for the internship.
“It has always been my dream to be on the show,” Idowu said. “To see my mother’s reaction was priceless. I want to continue making those reactions happen with my family.”
The summer internship started on June 6 at the main ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn., and it will end on Aug.12.
Idowu is a studio production intern at ESPN, where his responsibilities include operating a teleprompter during live programming and content responsibilities such as editing material for air, producing highlight content for air and preparing element reels for use by Event Production Department producers.
Nearly a month into the internship, Idowu said he is truly enjoying the experience.
“I’ve been blessed to meet a lot of my role models, sit in on SportsCenter and learn from the best,” Idowu said. “There is nothing more that I can ask for.”
While getting the Stuart Scott Internship was a dream for Idowu, he said that it is only the beginning to his dream of being a sports reporter.
“There’s so much left for me to accomplish. This opportunity has opened numerous doors for me. It is up to me to prove that I am all worth it,” Idowu said. “It is not an easy world to be a sports reporter because every guy wants to be one, but if you keep working, the opportunity is bound to come.”