It was 6 o’clock in the morning.
I was sitting in the dimly lit lobby of a Starbucks in Johnstown, Pa., watching the gray bar inch closer and closer to the YouTube finish line.
The rest of the crew was sound asleep in the unfathomable comfort of a hotel just a few blocks away.
Hours — which seemed more like years — earlier, Ohio State had emerged an overtime victor amidst a sea of white at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pa. I spent four hours literally atop the stadium, braving the cold temperatures, slight rain and wind, as I filmed the game.
After recording Urban Meyer and a couple of Buckeyes laud each other following the win, we quickly hopped into a car and drove an hour to Johnstown, Pa., where I immediately started to edit together a combination of highlights, voice-overs and interviews that is known as a postgame package.
As I sat in the Starbucks, watching my three hours of editing upload to YouTube, little did I know of my deteriorating health.
I weighed 159 pounds at 6-foot-3, and my heart rate was about 32 beats per minute — a rate that doctors would call “alarming” months later.
What was worse than my health was my mental state.
My mind was in a dark place that it had been before, but this time it felt different. It wasn’t so much a sadness this time around, but a hopelessness that was hidden amidst the other issues that had caused my dwindling weight.
Why was my mind darting to the word “quit” every time I saw the Lantern TV logo, when I knew how lucky I was to be working for the Lantern Media Group and covering the eventual National Champions?
It was now December.
My parents were worried, my friends were worried and I was worried.
I walked into the office of The Lantern’s then-adviser, as thin as ever, with tears in my eyes, ready tell him that I would quit after the College Football Playoffs — that I couldn’t put in this effort any longer.
When I did so, he told me to go home and discuss it with the people I cared about most: my family.
Amidst those dark days, I would call my mother and father incessantly and lean on them for support, which they offered unceasingly each and every step of the way. They would tell me they’d support me no matter the decisions I made.
When I got home, that support continued.
While they feared for my health, sending me to numerous doctors appointments within the first 48 hours of landing back home in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., they offered their love and support, no matter the decision I made.
After much introspection, I knew why I stayed.
When I first came to Lantern TV (formerly BuckeyeTV), Franz Ross was the sports director and I was the inexperienced assistant with the annoying questions that more than likely drove him up a wall.
If I did annoy Franz, he certainly didn’t show it.
He was gracious and increasingly kind in welcoming me aboard and eventually we established a great relationship, both professionally and personally.
As we were promoted to new positions at Lantern TV for the 2014-15 school year, we were sure that we were going to take the station to never-before-seen heights.
After that first semester at Lantern TV — a semester that saw OSU win a national championship and a semester that saw Lantern TV’s popularity as an OSU sports media outlet grow — I was confident that we had.
It was Franz, knowingly or not, who kept me afloat and kept me on board, despite all of the things that could’ve easily pushed me into the water.
I do regret that I couldn’t give my all to Franz or to Lantern TV over this last semester because of my health and other professional circumstances, but I’ll always be grateful for staying along for the final four months of our incredible, three-semester-long ride.
There are many memories that I’ll take away from my time at OSU and most, if not all, involve Lantern TV and The Lantern. For that, I have too many people to thank, but if you think you deserve to be mentioned, you most certainly do.
To my family, thank you and I love you with every fiber of my being.