Reporter's Notebook Sports The Tattoo

The quest for a Sharpie

BRISTOL, Connecticut, U.S.A. — Well, here we are on a beautiful sunny Friday evening at the X-Trials located in the Lake Compounce parking lot, getting ready for the fun that was destined to come for us.
We have our ESPN media wristbands on, and are ready to take on all of those big names that we idolize on TV. So we proceed to look around a bit, and then decide to enter the “press pass” area.
Whoa, all of these big names that I watch and idolize on television are standing only a few feet away from me.
“Brace yourself,” is what I think to myself. It was at that point that the level of intimidation one feels when being surrounded by people that are on a whole other plateau from you kicks in.
I’ve never been in an atmosphere such as this one before, so I figured I might as well take advantage of this situation. How often is this going to happen in my lifetime? Not very often!
And it was at that point that the journey for a Sharpie began.
Due to a temporary handicap to my left wrist, I have to wear a cast. So that is what I decided to collect all of these extreme sport giants’ autographs on. All I had was a crummy pen that would barely show up if I were to get someone to sign my cast.
My partner for the day, Mike Nguyen, was in the same predicament that I was in. Except he was getting his autographs on his patented “The Tattoo” t-shirt.
So we went wandering about the festivities, asking a few people here and there if they happened to have a Sharpie marker we could borrow permanently.
After getting our fair share of rejection, we sat back down in the press area.
We were watching the finals of the BMX Flatland competitions, when I noticed some kids with Sharpie markers in their hands. I jumped at the opportunity to try and win them over by bribing them with some CDs that I happened to pick up along my way.
Well, that didn’t quite work. They were all reluctant to even considering handing over their Sharpies even after all my sweet-talking and bribery offers.
Luckily, there was this lady standing in back of where I was sitting whom I just happened to ask for a Sharpie in total desperation. This woman was Chris Uljua of Woodbury.
At first, she told me to hold on while asks her son. But it just so happened that her son was the one who just rejected me. So I quickly tell her that I already asked him and he said no. So she just whips out one of her own.
She ever so kindly handed over a nice blue Sharpie without hesitation.
I was extremely flattered by the kind gesture, but I knew it shouldn’t have been rightfully mine.
So I explained that I needed to keep the Sharpie for good, but I would willingly make a trade. So I offered the same 2 CDs that I offered her son, and she accepted. She mentioned that her son, Ryan Uljua, would like it.
At this point I was ecstatic that our search for a Sharpie was finally over.
And I am happy to say that I now have a Sharpie of my own that all of my extreme sport idols can write with. So I’d like to thank Chris Uljua for making this all happen.

Sam Yosafi is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International.

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