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Bloggin' with Baughman - Third Installment
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 11/12/2008
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Nov. 12, 2008

Taylor Baughman, a freestyle All-American and Journalism major, will be blogging throughout the week on her and her teammate’s experience while being honored at the White House in recognition for capturing both men’s and women’s 2008 NCAA swimming and diving titles.

When I first left the shelter of my parent's home, I was afraid. I was moving to a new world over 2,000 miles away from everything that I had ever known. I didn't know anybody in Arizona and for the first time, I was on my own. Now, almost four years later, I know one thing is true of this world: you meet good people everywhere you go.

Take our President, for instance. The Commander-in-Chief. The leader of the free world. Today, in person, he was warm, personable, engaging and humorous.

"Anybody graduated in this group?" he asked.  "Got a job yet?"

"No, you got one for me?" Brandy Collins responded.

"I don't know if you've heard, but I'm looking for a job myself," the President quipped.

Arizona Athletics Director Jim Livengood thanked him for his service to our country.

"You know, I did the best I could," said Mr. Bush.

Despite any expectations that I might have had, George W. Bush was a nice man. I shook his hand and accepted his congratulations on capturing the title.

Being at the White House gave us an opportunity to interact with seven other championship teams. Athletes all shapes and sizes-- from all over the world-- were allowed to explore the East Wing of the White House together. They offered to take group shots when another Wildcat wasn't standing close and were complimentary on our accomplishments; as we were on theirs. They were exceptional beyond their athletic talents.

We had a personal tour guide at the Capitol building. Our guide was a university student working on an internship with a New Hampshire congressman. He knew a remarkable amount of information about not only the building itself, but American history in general. He made the tour fun and interesting--and I learned a tremendous amount.

Our final event of the day took us to the Cannon House Office Building where we were greeted with open arms by Alumni of the University of Arizona. They were excited to be there, and excited to welcome us. Thankful for their support, we were happy to share our successes with them. They are our extended family.

From Indianapolis to Tucson, Tucson to Washington D.C., and everywhere else in between-- I feel blessed to have been treated so kindly. I have never been more proud to be a Wildcat as I am today. From the President of the United States to the tour guide in the Nation's Capitol, you truly do meet good people everywhere you go.

Bear Down,

Taylor

You can contact Taylor directly at tbaughma@email.arizona.edu.

 

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